And then we were taken away

In the 20th century, authorities in Switzerland placed over 100’000 children and adolescents in homes and foster families.

The measures were implemented mainly for moral reasons and affected socially marginalised families in particular. The parents had hardly any success in legal proceedings against these decisions. Instead of fighting poverty, the state fought the poor.

In the participatory ethnographic documentary “And then we were taken away”, two men in their sixties talk about the administrative foster care they experienced as a child. They lead the audience to the homes, locations of their tumultuous youth and to their favourite places. Through their biographies, the men document how out-of-home placements shaped their childhood, youth and present.

  • Jessica Bollag
    Director and Producer
  • Stiller Has
  • National Research Programme "Welfare and Coercion", Swiss National Science Foundation / Institute for Research, Development and Evaluation, Bern University of Teacher Education
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Und dann wurden wir weggenommen
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    37 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    0 CHF
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, German
  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • International Ethnographic Film Festival OKO
    October 2, 2023
    Short Documentary Competition
Director Biography

Jessica Bollag is a social anthropologist specialized in visual anthropology. She works at the Bern University of Teacher Education. Her research interests are in the fields of social memory, social inequalities and methods of ethnographic filmmaking.

Her first film “I’m not leaving Eldon” was screened at 19 festivals and won the “Award for the Best Graduate Student Film” at the Society for Visual Anthropology Film & Media Festival of the American Anthropological Association.

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