Misja Pekel

2018 Netherlands DOC 45 '

Maelstrom is a poetic found footage documentary about a paradise lost, composed of Syrian amateur videos. The film is inspired by the true story of a young Syrian refugee who, in search of a new home, tried to swim from Calais to England. During this fatal journey, memories of his past life haunt the swimmer’s mind. These flashbacks form a psychological web in which he slowly gets caught. It becomes apparent that the final destination is not England, but the paradise of a lost past.


Misja Pekel is a Dutch documentary filmmaker. His first documentary, about judges ruling on the future of refugees and migrants, premiered at IDFA in 2008. In the following years, he codirected many documentaries for the Dutch broadcasting cooperation, some of which were selected for international festivals. His work is characterized by an urge to understand and visualize the inner world of others.