Beyond Borders

A nomadic documentary


At a time when some people have to emigrate to survive while others erect walls to protect themselves,

we have chosen to elaborate a freedom experience shared by all



About a hundred European cranes make an annual migration between Northern Europe and Africa along a so called » eastern » corridor. You can't miss these birds known as the biggest ones on the European continent ; on their route, their spectacular v-shaped flights and their unceasing cries have been observed by men for ages. In the age of Homer, the Greeks already knew that these birds used to fly from the North to Black Africa. But unlike the discreet stork known as a peace bird, the grey and black cranes have been considered as warriors.


In other cultures,they are related to the other migrating birds, and spring and motherhood are associated with their coming back.They have always been seen as messengers and observers, as a free moving people ; the mysterious migration of this animal,the size of an eight-year-old child, keeps enhancing men's reflection



Geopolitics on the route we'll follow,will give its full meaning to our approach ; situated between three continents, on the border of Europe and Asia, this migration corridor, straddling Arabian Africa and Black Africa,is taken by only one bird population but is overflown by a mixture of influences. The conflict which broke out between Ukraine and Russia has merely restated our urge to question the concept of freedom and the painful migration of Syrian refugees , reactivating the fear of others and their culture, has even more comforted us in our moral or geographical direction. Our journey, from the north of Europe to Africa, has thus become the symbol of our wish to go towards the other, to understand his culture and to reaffirm our need to enhance what binds us intimately.


Cranes migration, like all other birds, opens up routes leaving no marks on maps.Wild routes, that millions of migrating animals follow, connect men's territories and these ancient paths have formed the first global network, a a network of observations,knowledge and beliefs among people. All mamals, birds, insects move freely, thinking first about their survival.This documentary aims at following the wild route of European cranes, casting an ethnographical glance on the cultural axperience it created

The red thread of our work has been to focus on the changing we have witnessed on landscapes, languages,facies and rhythms ; we have headed down south at the same winter time as the migrating birds , in the cold and in the dark.Always further from our European culture, we have left it smoothly and the road we have taken was straight. We have rubbed out the frontiers as well as the marks of barriers set up by men to let the cultural continuity ring out. Our job has been to record accounts,legends, songs and dances as well as plastic and pictural works recalling our subject, and this material has been the link between cultures and thoughts.Arts,in a sense, from their shamanic origins to their contemporary forms, will be central in our work.


Since 2006, a team of biologists from the University of Turku in Finland equips 3 young cranes with GPS-markers. The study was made to further know the migratory trajectories and stops of these birds and has revealed a great diversity of paths. The longest leads cranes as young as only five months old from the North of Lapland to Lake Tana in Ethiopia.