The potential... (refugee) film workshops
How it began...
Following the tragic events unfolding in front of our eyes during the refugee crisis in 2015, we were driven by the wish to help and our own curiosity and thus developed the idea of the „The Potential Film Project (Refugee Film Workshops)“. Together with Ehsan Ehsani and Amir Gudarzi, two Farsi-speaking colleagues we headed to Traiskirchen, Austria‘s largest refugee camp. For over 4 months we taught the basics of filmmaking and storytelling to a group of unaccompanied refugee children. We wanted to give them a voice, to hear their stories - and found incredible POTENTIAL.
The results were several short documentaries, which were shown at this human world - the Austrian Human Rights Film Festival - and ZagrebDocs in Croatia.
Learning the basics of film composition and structure and acquiring technical knowledge in handling equipment enables the young people to enter a process that will help them to deal with their current situation and give them the tools they need to use their right of self expression. This is a commitment that will enable them to communicate and shape their voice in order to be heard. Of course most of them will not become filmmakers, but from the experience will have a shaping effect on their future.
One of the main problems for refugees is the lack of attention and ways to express themselves. So one of the key goals of our activities is to open channels of communication and exchange, using arts and film as a universal language that is not dependent on spoken words, but rather uses images, sounds, music and storylines to communicate. By showing the films publicly, the young people realize that there is keen interest amongst Europeans who want to know more about them.
During the workshops we raise awareness to and discuss European values. We confront the young people with issues like women‘s rights and LGBTQI rights, issues that are often regarded as embarrassing or untouchable in their home countries. However, we have seen that with time - especially the younger ones - are open to listen and reflect. We think that this is the only way to shape opinions, long talks, one by one - not to order them to obey, but to make them understand and feel empathy.
We believe that there is a huge demand for information amongst the European population, people want to know more about „the others“. So far media attention mostly is limited to a reports „from the outside“. To hear stories produced by the young refugees themselves will contribute to a better understanding amongst the people, to reduce fear and suspiciousness and thus to help integration from both sides. It is incredibly important that these films do not disappear in a shelf after they are made. The goal is to produce films that are seen by a European audience, so that people here can discover who are our new neighbours, where do they come from, what do they think and what do they hope for? The ultimate goal is to get rid of the label „refugee“ and discover the humanity in a person, only then we can start living together as humans next to each other.
BOOK A WORKSHOP
We want to work with you...
Are you a teacher? An educator? A social worker? An NGO?
We want to hear from you.
The original concept was and is designed for young refugees, however we would like to expand and work with "mixed" groups. We will sit with you to tailor a workshop that best fits yours and the kids' needs. The workshops can last from one week to several months, depending on the conceptual needs but also your financial possibilities. They can be held all over Europe and beyond. For best use of resources we use local knowledge and collaborate with local filmmakers, often with migration background themselves.
The rights of the produced films stay with the young filmmakers, however we will of course pre-agree the right of usage for the funding bodies (be it governmental or private institutions), so the films can be included in your PR channels and webpages. This is a concept that has proven to be successful during our collaboration with the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA), for whom we produced clips they later showed during the Fundamental Rights Forum 2016 as well as in their online appearence.
For more information about our workshops please contact firstname.lastname@example.org