Little Boss

Soraya Pol 15

At school, Valentino (8) often gets angry. Since the divorce, he lives alone with his father and no longer sees his sisters. A children’s coach advises the two men to learn to talk to each other about their feelings. They get help from a special houseguest.

Selected for ECFA Short Film Award, Filemon, Belgium 
Selected for the short film competition of the International Children Care Film Festival in Paris, 21-25.11.2023

Children share their coping with parental divorce in “My Parents Are Divorced,” an anthology of eight 15-minute standalone youth documentaries by different filmmakers.

How do you cope with your parents’ divorce? This question is the focus of the second season of EOdoc’s youth documentary series My Parents Are Divorced. In the four short documentaries Summer without you, Angry Enzo, Roco and Noï and Little boss, children show what impact it has when their parents split up and what problems they are left with. Should you be happy for your father when he has a new girlfriend? What should you do when grief turns into anger? And how do you talk to your parents about the pain you feel deep inside?

Every year, about 86,000 children in the Netherlands are told that their parents are splitting up. A third of these children experience this breakup as a fighting divorce. Children often find it difficult to talk about this, leaving their perspective underexposed.

In the new season of My parents are divorced the films give shape to the processing of this drastic event. In a probing, open, but also playful way, children tell what their parents’ divorce does to them and how they deal with their grief. In the first series the focus was on the different phases of a divorce. The second part gives fellow sufferers tools for change.

 

Directors statement, Soraya Pol

It remains common for children to primarily live with their mothers after a divorce. The importance of the father-child bond and the time spent together often seem overlooked. The significance of a father’s presence and role in parenting tends to be underestimated. This is particularly noticeable in families of color, where fathers are frequently depicted as absent. Through this film, my goal is not only to challenge this perception but also to portray a sensitive form of masculinity. The film explores how two outwardly strong men navigate their emotions, highlighting a need that many young boys today still do not adequately address.

 

Where to see in the Netherlands
Netherlands Film Festival Utrecht | educational program ‘buiten de lijntjes’ 8+ | 25.09.2023
Dutch Public Television broadcast at EOdocs 23.04.2023.
Little Boss and the seven other youth documentaries within the series My Parents Are Divorced can be seen here: Mijn ouders zijn gescheiden – 2Doc.nl

Where to see at International Film Festivals
Filem’On – Het Internationale Filmfestival voor Jong publiek in Brussels, Belgium | 27.10.23 & 4.11.23 | selected for ECFA short film award 
International Children Care Film Festival | Paris, France | 21-25.11.2023 | official short film competition.

Impact statement

Margit Balogh, editor-in-chief of EOdocs: 

“In My Parents Are Divorced, children speak out about the divorce. They confront their parents, they express that they don’t want to choose, that they want to love both parents and that they want a safe and warm home. On the one hand, the series should provide tools for children so that they can give the stress of divorce back to their parents. On the other hand, it tells parents an honest, relatable and confrontational story from the perspective of children, so that looking away is not possible.”

Numerous screenings of the film have taken place in both cinema and classroom settings for  students aged 9 to 12. Following the screenings, the young audiences had the opportunity to engage with a Spoken Word artist. During these sessions, the artist discussed the importance and value of using language to express emotions and personal experiences related to divorce.

Moreover, our collaboration with the Villa Pinedo foundation marks a pivotal stride forward. By seamlessly integrating the documentary series into a dynamic educational program catering to students, teachers, youth workers, and local authorities, we embark on a transformative journey. These documentaries, rich with authentic narratives, serve as a potent catalyst, igniting conversations that delve into the experiences of children with divorced parents.

The power of these real-life stories lies not just in their emotional resonance, but also in their potential to reshape our society’s understanding of this often-overlooked aspect of family dynamics. By harnessing the films as poignant conversation starters, we aspire to spark a profound shift in how divorced parents and their children are perceived and supported.

In collaboration with Villa Pinedo, we arm our stakeholders with a comprehensive toolkit and a wealth of educational resources. This equips them to facilitate meaningful dialogues and provide invaluable guidance, ultimately empowering these children to navigate the complexities of their circumstances while preserving their innocence. This endeavor isn’t merely about creating awareness—it’s about catalyzing a positive, enduring change in our collective consciousness.

Contact us if you are a teacher and you want more information about a Spoken Word workshop in your class.

 

 

Soraya Pol, a Media Studies graduate from  Amsterdam (2014), began her career as a Researcher for character-driven documentaries across public broadcasters and production companies. Her involvement in acclaimed Dutch documentaries led to a transition from research to creative filmmaking.

Known for her use of color and magical realism, Soraya’s collaboration with visual artist Melanie Bonajo yielded impactful works. Notably, they created “TouchMETell” (Cinekid, 2019) and “Boundary Boss” (Stedelijk Museum, 2020) to creatively educate children about setting boundaries. Chosen by the Mondriaan Fund, they showcased “When the Body Says Yes” (2022) at the Venice Art Biennale, inviting introspection on touch and intimacy.

Soraya’s work has evolved into an artistic blend of documentary and art. “Liever Kroes” (2021) explored self-love amidst societal pressures and was nominated at the Dutch Film Festival 2022. In “The Post Racist Planet” (2020), she collaborated with artist Brian Elstak, crafting an illustrated world free of racism.

Her work consistently strives to present future perspectives rooted in equality, connection, and intimacy. By engaging with characters deeply and addressing societal themes vulnerably, she redefines human experiences with vivid and humorous visuals, aiming to shape a more compassionate future.

credits to:
Director of Photography | Gregor Meerman
Sound | Mark Wessner, Suzan van Eck, Martin de Pee
Mediated by | Lyon Pol
Sound design | Tim van Peppen
Color grading | Qianwei Tong
Art design | Jeroen Kolkman
Research | Jill Mathon, Soraya Pol
Coaching | Martijn Blekendaal
Editor  EOdocs | Janicke Bijlsma, Sharona Buijert
Commissioning editor EOdocs | Margit Balogh
Impact producer|  Vera Born | Impact Makers
Production De Coproducent | Zelda Nieuwenhuis, Kirsten Gerritsen, Josephine Kramer
Producer | Pieter Cerutti | De Coproducent
Executive Producer | Willemijn Cerutti | Cerutti Film

With financial support from CoBO Fund.
Impactpartner: Villa Pinedo
Sales Agent: Dutch Core