* DMZ Docs Pitch Award in the Rough Cut Pitch category

Statement of the Next:Wave Jury:
"The film we chose to award skillfully materialises the in-between and uncertain space of an ongoing custody battle in which the nine year old Melina is caught between her parents and the consequent disillusioning confronting with the real, as well as the chasm between the separate realities of Melina, her mother, and het grandparents. The film finds its merit in this intersection, drawing attention to question of motherhood, transformation, and the notion of belonging, indirectly interrogating the unequal position and rights of women in contemporary Iranian society. This film is ultimately a testament to the resilience of Melina and het grandparents, but also to the inherent imperfection and shortcomings of what it is to be human."

Grand Me

Category |Children, Human Rights, Justice, Women, Youth
Year | 2024
Country | Belgium, Iran, Qatar
Running time | 80’- 52’
Format | 2K
Production | Associate Directors, Atam Film
Director | Atiye Zare Arandi

A 9-year-old Iranian girl plans to sue her parents after their bitter divorce in a lively and bittersweet film directed by her aunt. A lively contribution to the great Iranian tradition of films about the world of children. Eight-year-old Melina lives with her loving grandparents in the Iranian city of Isfahan. Her parents have divorced and neither her mum nor her dad are able to take care of their daughter. Melina wants to live with her mum in Tehran, but neither her unpredictable father nor her new stepfather will allow it.

But when the strong-willed girl turns nine, she comes of legal age and has an idea: She wants to start a custody battle. But her plans are challenged by the complicated realities of adult life. Director Atiye Zare Arandi is also Melina’s aunt, and their close relationship provides a unique insight into her life and thoughts.

From scolding her mum in the car, to getting on her dad’s nerves on the phone, to putting nail polish on her good-natured grandfather. Conflicts, phone calls and children’s games weave in and out of each other in a film that constributes a fresh, contemporary perspective on the grand Iranian cinematic tradition of depicting the world of children and the incomprehensible reality of adults.