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by Karen Pecota

To this day, when I think about this film, I can't help but smile. The relatable themes that face immigrants and refugees along with a mix of sadness and delightful humor, writer and director, Frederike Migom eloquently portrays the realities of hope in childhood dreams.

Two kids from two different worlds collide at the base of a tree house in the pouring rain. Eleven-year old Elias, his siblings and mother live in a well-to-do Belgian neighborhood. Elias has access to a cool, rustic tree house where he escapes to be alone or to work on his Save-the-Okapi's Charity (the threatened "forest giraffe" native to the Congo) co-founded with his father who lives in Brazil.

Twelve-year-old Binti, and her father, Jovial are refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but have lived in Belgium since Binti was a baby. Still undocumented immigrants, the two have lived in and out of safe havens but forever live in fear of being found-out and deported. A scenario that could cost them their lives. A police raid on their living situation forces the two to be on the run from authorities. In a panic, they get lost and find themselves in a large wooded area unfamiliar in the pouring down rain. For their safety, Binti and Jovial separate.

Binti comes upon an empty tree house and makes herself at home until the owner, Elias appears. He isn't in the mood to share his private space with a stranger, much less with a happily loud, obnoxious girl, until Jovial shows up. Elias finds out that the two are a family but most important, Jovial knows about the very animal Elias' mission is set to save.

Elias eventually introduces his mother to his new friends. Over time Binti and Elias develop a unique childhood bond but their friendship journey is anything but smooth though at times delightfully comical. One comedy of errors is the scheme Binti devises to assist her dad and Elias' mother to fall in love so they will marry. Binti and Jovial's problems would be solved and a practical outcome executed. Through marriage, Binti and Jovial would receive the official documents necessary to legally reside in the country they have grown to love. And, everyone would then live happily-ever-after...or not!