MAX LOWE | Camp Courage

Fresh Film director Max Lowe’s new short documentary film, Camp Courage, follows a young girl Milana, and her grandmother, uprooted by the conflict in Ukraine and invited to a special summer camp in the Alps. It follows Milana as she tests the profound depths of her bravery, and the rebuilding of her life.

The film emerged in the breaking wave after the release of Max’s successful documentary film Torn, on National Geographic. After telling the personal story he was emotionally and creatively sapped, and at a loss of what would come next. How could he ever tell a story with the same amount of heart and the defining trauma of his family’s shared story?

Then out of the blue an opportune email from Mountain Seed Foundation asking if would come and speak about Torn at their Austrian summer camp for Ukrainian families displaced by the ongoing conflict with Russia. The camp helps the refugees through hiking, climbing, and most importantly talking, trying to help them each find their path forward from the shared trauma they have all experienced. 

On the camp Max met Milana and her grandmother Olga, and in them saw something familiar that grounded the war in Ukraine for him: two people living in the wake of immense trauma, finding their way forward as a family with new definition. 

As Max explains, ‘In this world where the shifting lives of thousands of people are defined from a world away by headlines, it’s easy to overlook the long lasting human impact of traumatic events, echoing into the ensuing generations. In facing that darkness there is immense fear in the uncertainty of the unknown, but in that uncertainty also lies the potential for immense courage, as I saw so clearly during that week we spent in the Austrian alps with Milana and Olga and the other families at camp.’ 

Camp Courage is available to stream globally on Netflix globally.