Speakers: Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas, Directors
Free Screening (no charge to see the film)
Life Overtakes Me is a powerful Swedish documentary about the rise of Resignation Syndrome among refugee children in Sweden. First identified in Sweden in the 1990s, the syndrome is a mysterious dissociative illness in which children of asylum-seeking families enter a comatose state and withdraw completely from conscious life. This condition has affected hundreds of children throughout Sweden with no logical explanation other than the intense trauma the children have suffered and witnessed during the experience of exile. Through intimate footage and interviews, directors Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas show that trauma from war and conflict does not necessarily end after physically escaping the environment. They bring new and pointed attention to the urgency needed to respond to the worldwide refugee crisis. (Kristine Samuelson & John Haptas, 2019, USA, 39 minutes)
JOHN HAPTAS and KRISTINE SAMUELSON’s award-winning documentary essays have been screened at festivals throughout the world, from Sundance and San Francisco to London, Rio, Belgrade, India, Germany, and South Korea. They have appeared on PBS and at museums including the Museum of Modern Art. Empire of the Moon was made possible by a Cité Des Arts International Studio Residency in Paris, and Tokyo Waka was supported by a Japan-U.S. Creative Artists Fellowship. They have also been Artists in Residence at the Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and taught master classes at the Hanoi Academy of Theater and Cinema in Vietnam. Their most recent film, Life Overtakes Me premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is streaming on Netflix.