Water Children Aliona van der Horst

Dutch director Aliona van der Horst has directed four international award-winning documentaries.  She was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1970 and studied Russian literature at the University of Amsterdam and film at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. She began her career in 1997 with the much-acclaimed The Lady with the White Hat and since then has received multiple awards for most of her films, among them the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca film festival for Voices of Bam (2006), and the Grand Prix of the FIFA Montreal for The Hermitage Dwellers(2004). Recently she has received the Jan Kassies award by the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund, for outstanding achievement. For her latest documentary Boris Ryzhy she received the ‘Silver Wolf Award’ at the IDFA 2008, Best Documentary Award at Edinburgh Filmfestival 2009 , the Award of the Dutch Filmjournalists and the Special Jury Prize at the FIFA, Montréal.

You can order her films at: ZEPPERS FILMS (Boris Ryzhy and Voices of Bam); VIEWPOINT PRODUCTIONS (‘After the spring of ’68′ and ‘The Hermitage Dwellers’)
A DVD of Water Children will be released in 2012, if you would like to be updated about it, please send an email to julia@zeppers.nl

Aliona van der Horst

Aliona van der Horst (photo: Carla van de Puttelaar)

Some aspects of life are hard to express in words.To touch the deep layers of feelings connected to issues of motherhood and loss and experiences of procreation and the sense of failure it can entail, you need to create something like music, a labyrinth or a ritual. Something that isn’t only about speaking meaning, but explores other ways to express the deep and intense experiences in our lives. In this documentary, artist and pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama asks a group of Japanese women to participate in her art project exploring and meditating on the meaning of their monthly blood and the rhythm of their bodies. The women, sometimes for the first time in their lives, try to give words to their experiences, resulting in powerful testimonies about the connection between life and death, mortality and the power of life. Gradually, and unexpectedly, this film evolves into a collaboration between the artist and me. Why did I chose to make a film about such a sensitive and hard to grasp subject as “female fertility”? I am challenged by the Tomoko who asks me to participate in her project; confronting my own strong and mixed feelings towards being a woman without children of my own. Our conversation takes place in music and images. This film is about how deeply art can be connected to life and how necessary it it is to express what we often cannot speak about.


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