'Oe ist' : a heartwarming documentary revealing life of Ypres's citizens during lockdown

While the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, Alexandro Yaramis decided to hit the road and talk to the inhabitants of Ypres. In this documentary, called 'Oe ist', we will be able to see how lockdown has affected the lives of many 'Ieperlingen'.

Written by Jelien Moerman

The Cloth Hall in Ypres

In a short documentary directed by Alexandro Yaramis and filmed by Ben Pannekoucke, you will be able to take a look at COVID-19 through the eyes of the citizens of Ypres. By sitting down for a talk with Alexandro, the 'Ieperlingen' reflect on the pandemic that the whole world currently experiences.

Rediscovering Ypres through this documentary

Ypres is a beautiful city located in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. The place has a lot of history from World War I, as it was the centre of battles between the German and allied forces back then. Furthermore, Ypres has played an important role in the history of the textile industry, and has formed the city as it is today. Nowadays, tourists are visiting the city for the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, the Cloth Hall and the Flanders Field Museum, until the pandemic made those travel plans of many people temporarily come to a halt. Alexandro explains that Brexit was already a hard pill to swallow for the people of Ypres, but now, the situation feels like a double uppercut. The busses with tourists from The United Kingdom left. It feels strange, because they have been a part of the city's image; gathering big groups of students in the city center, ready for their history excursion and many of them having their bags filled with Belgian sweets at the end of the day. And so without their presence, Ypres started to feel more like 'a village'.

Picture Menin Gate taken by ©Milo Profi - Other pictures © Unsplash

Finding the right narrative for 'Oe ist'

So where did the idea for 'Oe ist' come from? We asked Alexandro about his drive for this documentary: "Normally I would have been in Turkey for a documentary myself, but because of the pandemic, it is postponed, probably until September. My friend Ben suggested we shoot a documentary ourselves instead, by hiring the necessary video material".

He continued by explaining to us how important it was to find the right narrative for this documentary. 'Oe ist' is heartwarming, authentic, and focuses on positive conversations with the inhabitants. It will reveal the daily life of hard-working people that show resilience and have succeeded in battling this crisis so far.

"I wanted to avoid interviewing the mayor, other politicians, or doctors. I feel like we have been hearing their stories all over the news since lockdown, and many people tend to engage better with something similar to their own experience. I tried to create a documentary that is authentic and specific to Ypres. And I am convinced we did great!" Alexandro says.

Alexandro Yaramis and Ben Pannekoucke filming for the documentary 'Oe ist?'

'Oe ist' gets personal and emotional

Alexandro at his former secondary school

The pandemic actually forced us all to go back to basics and enjoy the little things we have. Alexandro takes us back to his secondary school, to find out how they have been handling the situation so far. Teachers just started to reunite with their students after 3 months of missing each other. That's unique!

Alexandro on his walk through Ypres

He also managed to talk to the buglers of the Last Post, on how it has been an emotional experience being a lone bugler and performing for no crowd. Many other businesses will have their say in this documentary.

Let's keep the rest a surprise!

When can you expect 'Oe ist?'

After releasing the trailer, which you can watch here, Alexandro and Ben have received amazing feedback, and not only by their fellow citizens in Ypres. The trailer has already been picked up by Vice Belgium! There isn't an official release date yet, but you will be able to watch the full documentary 'Oe ist', with English subtitles (turn on the subs settings and HD), by the end of June. We are very excited!

Written by Jelien Moerman

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