Fleeing repression at home, young survivors of domestic violence take a leap into the unknown

Runaways The Marem Group is a team of volunteers helping victims of domestic violence in the North Caucasus. After their shelter was raided by a joined team of Chechen and Dagestani police, they had to leave Russia. The documentary traces these runaways on different phases of evacuation – from their republics to the long process of rehabilitation in other countries. But abusers threaten not only girls: members of the Marem Group are not safe, even outside Russia. They can also become runaways at any moment.

Runaways (2023) on IMDb

The Producers

Vladimir Sevrinovsky – Director

Vladimir Sevrinovsky is an award-winning Russian journalist, photographer and documentary filmmaker. In 2011 he abandoned successful career in business to become a traveler and an independent journalist. Now his dominant sphere of interest is the Northern Caucasus. He has become one of the leading experts on the ethnography of local nations, having published several books on the subject. Vladimir has produced documentaries for global channels including Arte, Channel 4 and National Geographic. Ostrov (Lost Island), produced by Vladimir, won Best International Feature at Hot Docs and was nominated for an Oscar. Vladimir is one of few independent pacifist journalists still working in Russia and documenting the impact of the war with Ukraine.

Making The Film

I had never expected this documentary to be so big and difficult. I planned to do something like my previous doc It Happens Here dedicated to the problem of FGM in Dagestan. I filmed it in 1 month, and it was relatively easy – considering the theme. But with the Marem group everything went wrong. I quickly became personally involved in their work, and even had some problems with the police. When I helped the first girl to escape, I had her permission to film, but she was on the brink of panic, so I just held her hand while we crossed the checkpoint. I filmed nothing that time. But maybe this scene, which was never shot, affected this documentary more than any other evacuation. In the middle of filming the whole group had to run from Russia to Georgia. I couldn’t travel there directly because of COVID restrictions. Then the war started. It took 2 years instead of 1 month to wrap up the story. I created this documentary, but also this documentary created me as a director. It gave me a lot of pain, but also a lot of experience. I am particularly thankful for CineDoc Tbilisi and their colleagues. Without their strong support I would have never secured a proper post-production for Runaways.

Vladimir Sevrinovsky, Director

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