Documentary filmmakers Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas Van Hemelryck’s second feature (their debut Amazona premiered at IDFA in 2016), Alis was filmed over a period of five years with the young women and genderqueer at the facility through documentary workshops. The result is what they term a “psychological documentary”: a creative act of storytelling that enables the individuals to speak candidly – about everything including sex and sexuality – without having to focus on their own traumas and experiences of life on the streets. Premiering in Berlin’s Generation 14plus, where it won both the Teddy for best documentary/essay film and the Crystal Bear for best film, Alis is a sensitive and generous act, which puts the safeguarding of its subjects ahead of its own desires to tell a compelling story – which, incidentally, it also does with aplomb.
Tara Judah, Screen Daily
Now, the filmmakers have set up in the Arcadia boarding school in Bogotá, where, thanks to some documentary film workshops that they taught there for five years, they managed to blend in with their (female) students, thus establishing an impressive level of friendship, trust and general closeness with them. And so, through the simple method of asking the teenage girls – whose families are unable to take care of them – to imagine a very close friend of theirs (the titular Alis), they gradually lift the lid on their traumatic past, their personalities, and their hopes and dreams.
Alfonso Rivera, Cineuropa
The film is also available online throughout the festival!