The Growing Up section explores the conditions of coming of age in today’s world: in the Arctic tundra (How Big Is the Galaxy); a Buddhist monastery in Malawi (Buddha in Africa); in the US, where children struggle with racial and ethnic prejudices, or the crushing expectations of social media (Minding the Gap, Jawline); and in Brazil, where students are protesting the closure of their school (Your Turn). Watching this selection you can immerse yourself in the dilemmas of a Chinese family reinventing the Confucian educational system for their child (Confucian Dream), or enjoy the open-minded conversations of children grasping the plurality of religions in Belgium (Gods of Molenbeek). Follow a group of teenagers enjoying their last lazy summer before they are consumed by the worries of adult life (Transnistra), or see two Hungarian sisters face the mounting pressure of a career in professional sports (Above the Line). Observe the diverging paths of two teenage girls in a Muslim village in Georgia, who are coming of age as growing Islamization encourages the village men to join a military conflict in Syria (Before Father Gets Back).
These young people experience the weight of the world’s mounting problems in the most pressing way, and they are increasingly urging older generations to value their future over immediate profits. Without prejudice or judgment, the filmmakers have followed these stories—capturing unique moments of choice, contemplation, and emotional ups and downs— to remind the viewer how wonderful and hard it is to be young.