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Wake Up On Mars

Fall Grants 2019
Current project status: COMPLETED

Dea Gjinovci / Feature Documentary / Switzerland, France, Qatar / 2020 / 74 min / Original Language: Albanian, Swedish / Interests: Creative Documentary


Furkan, the youngest member of a Roma family living in Sweden, attempts to come to terms with the mysterious illness of his two sisters. Ibadeta and Djeneta have been in a coma-like state for several years, victims of what has been named the “resignation syndrome.” Traumatized by the thought of being sent back to Kosovo, their homeland, their minds and bodies have suddenly gone to sleep. In central Sweden, his family attempts to rebuild a normal life, but so far, their asylum applications have been refused one after the other. Furkan tries to escape his reality by building his own spaceship to fulfil his dream: to go live on Mars and save his two sisters. At the core of this film lies this one question: “What happens to human beings, and in particular children, when all hope is gone?”


Dea Gjinovci
Dea Gjinovci
Sophie Faudel, Britta Rindelaub, Jasmin Basic, Heidi Fleisher, Dea Gjinovci

About the Director

Dea Gjinovci is a Swiss-Albanian director/producer with a background in Economics and Anthropology; she splits her time between Paris, London and Geneva. She is a 2019 Sundance Talent Forum alum and 2019 Film Independent Fellow. Her award-winning documentary short ‘Sans le Kosovo’ screened at several international festivals and won Best National Film at Dokufest International Film. Her debut feature-length documentary ‘Wake Up on Mars’ received support from the Sundance Film Institute and Ford Foundation JustFilms, and won the “Perspectives d’un doc” pitch award at Visions du Réel 2018. It has been selected as part of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In June 2018, she co-founded Amok Films with fellow filmmaker Antoine Goldet in Paris. Her work has been described as “a pure embodiment of human dignity” with a sense of “beauty, poetry, sensitivity and wonder”.

Production Company Profile

Mélisande Films is an independent film production company documentary created in 2009 by Sophie Faudel in Paris. We are focused on documentaries and storytelling that approaches historical, society and cultural issues from a challenging and yet creative point of view. Our aim is to explore and question our contemporary society and bring important issues to the public eye. We work with confirmed filmmakers such as Jérôme Prieur, Véronique Lagoarde Ségot or Samuel Lajus as well as emerging talent currently working on their first feature documentaries or web series.

Alva Film is an independent production company founded in 2005 and based in Geneva. Alva Film initially grew by producing mainly documentaries, with a strong focus on the author's point of view. Since 2014, we have also developed a focus on fiction, namely by producing debut features. We also developed in the last three years a co-production network with France and countries in Eastern Europe, in order to increase the distribution potential of Swiss films abroad while providing support to filmmakers from emerging countries. Our films share a committed vision on the world, an ambitious editorial and artistic approach, in documentary or fiction, defining a diverse and consistent production line.

Amok Films was created by two emerging documentary filmmakers driven by their desire to produce their own films. Since its start, Amok has been collaborating and co-producing with established production companies. They take part in every step of the production of their films; from development to distribution and impact campaigns. Amok Films is now collaborating with many funders and organisations in the United States to create more partnerships between European and American documentary productions. Films produced and co-produced by Amok Films have received support from the Sundance Film Institute, the Doha Film Institute, Just Films/Ford Foundation, Film Independent, the Perspective Fund, France 2, RTS, Fondation de France, Field of Vision and UNESCO.

Awards and Festival History


Visions du Reel 2020 (WP – online edition)


  • Main Contact

    Dea Gjinovci

    Amok Films

  • Production Company

    Mélisande Films

  • Production Company

    Alva Film Production

  • Production Company

    Amok Films

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