The Distant Barking of Dogs

Guests Expected

Director Simon Lereng Wilmont is expected to attend the April 5 and 6 screenings.


In the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, a loving, wise, and defiant grandmother raises her two young grandsons. Living under the omnipresent threat of war, the spirited boys, Oleg and Yarik, learn to adapt to their precarious situation and playfully wander through their neighborhood oblivious to the dangers around them. With a warm gaze toward his beguiling protagonists, director Simon Lereng Wilmont lends sensitivity and entrancing visuals – intimately framed close-ups and vibrant rural landscapes – to deliver a nuanced portrait of war and its corrosive effect.

"Presenting war through the 'innocent eyes of a child' has been a standby of cinema for decades, so all credit to Danish documentarian Simon Lereng Wilmont for making his solo debut The Distant Barking of Dogs feel so memorably distinctive. A fly-on-the-wall portrait of a ten-year-old lad and the village where he lives, just a mile or so from the front line in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, Lereng shows a precociously mature touch here, tracing a couple of traumatic years in the life of fresh-faced Oleg Afanasyev as he grows up amid the cacophony of artillery fire. Oleg spends his free time wandering the picturesque if somewhat trash-strewn countryside with his slightly junior cousin Yarik. But as the film goes on, Lereng Wilmont dramatizes the unique pressures that come with living adjacent to a war zone, presenting the physical and psychological impacts of such an upbringing on impressionable, malleable young souls. — Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Director Simon Lereng

Simon Lereng Wilmont attended the National Film School Denmark, graduating as a documentary film director in 2009. Among his films are Traveling with Mr. T. (2012) and Graine de champion (2016). The Distant Barking of Dogs is the winner of the First Appearance Award at IDFA 2017 and the Dragon Award at Göteborg Film Festival. Of his inspiration for the film, Wilmont says, “What concerned me was the human story: What's life like for a child in the shadow of war?"  (Danish Film Institute)

Film Details
  • Premiere status: North American
  • Country(ies): Denmark/Sweden/Finland
  • Language(s): Ukrainian
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 90
  • Director(s): Simon Lereng Wilmont
  • Producer(s): Monica Hellström
  • Cinematographer(s): Simon Lereng Wilmont
  • Editor(s): Michael Aaglund
  • Music: Erik Enocksson, Uno Helmersson

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