Episode 167: A House Made of Splinters with Simon Lereng Wilmont

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with director Simon Lereng Wilmont. Simon’s first feature documentary film, The Distant Barking of Dogs (2017), premiered at IDFA and was awarded Best First Appearance. It has since gone on to win 35+ awards worldwide. His latest documentary, A House Made of Splinters, the focus of this episode, made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Best Director prize in the World-Cinema Documentary competition. The celebrated film was an Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film for the 2023 Oscars® and has continued to be a word-of-mouth success and essential to dialogues around crisis-caregiving amid the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine. A House Made of Splinters explores how the most vulnerable are caught up within institutional bureaucracies, generational traumas, and international flexes of power beyond their control and limits of understanding. It’s a film, as Simon Lereng Wilmont tells it, about “the long term, less visible, but no less devastating consequences that war has had on many of the small communities situated along frontline of the war in Eastern Ukraine. It is also a story about love, compassion and hope. This is what powers the dedicated, big-hearted caregivers working tirelessly to try and give the children a better future, and what makes these incredible children still want to reach out and dare to try and form close human connections despite the tragic circumstances of the broken families that they come from.  In this episode host Michael Shields and Simon Lereng Wilmont discuss the psychological and emotional trauma that is inflicted upon children in times of war. They discuss how profoundly special the shelter at the heart of the film and those working there are. They talking about the generation cycles of trauma caused from war, coping mechanisms that kids are drawn to in dire situations, the power of hope , and so much more.

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