Running to the Sky
Original title: Jo Kuluk
German title: Barfuß zu den Sternen
Jekshen grows up in a picturesque mountain village in Kyrgyzstan. But the idyll is deceptive. The divorce of his parents, the absence of his mother and the care for his alcoholic father have forced the eleven-year-old to grow up at a young age. The only thing that can cheer the lonely boy up is the fascination for his sports teacher. She is also the one who discovers Jekshenʼs talent for running. Encouraged by his grandparents and friends, Jekshen takes part in his first race – with success. But even this newly discovered passion cannot solve his everyday problems. Then Jekshen learns about a traditional race in which a toddler is shackled in footcuffs. The first runner who reaches the child is allowed to cut the footcuffs open. According to Kyrgyz tradition, the child is blessed from now on and will be able to overcome every obstacle in life. Hoping for a better future, Jekshen decides to take part in the race and finally free himself from his own ‘shackles’.