BFI runs Refugee Week programme, 16-22 June

Written by Nic Wistreich on . Posted in Screenings

thebetrayal01RefugeeYouth, Nueva Generacion and Refugee Action bring a collection of films about exile to BFI Southbank on 16 - 22 June.


The BFI Southbank marks National Refugee Week with a series of award-winning and moving films about exile and will host Refuge in Films, a weekend of films and events curated by young refugees.

Refugee Week celebrates the UK's history of providing sanctuary to people fleeing human rights abuses and their contribution to the UK. As part of their Simple Acts campaign, audiences are being urged to ‘watch a film about refugees’ - just one of the 20 small everyday actions that can be carried out by all in a bid to inspire people to change perceptions of refugees. Between Tuesday 16 and Sunday 21 June, a selection of thought-provoking and award-winning features, short films, interactive workshops and panel discussions with refugees and filmmakers will take place at BFI Southbank.

The programme will include the UK Premiere of Emmy award winning documentary, Made in LA (2007) (curated as part of the Refuge in Films festival) that follows a group of Latina immigrants working in LA garment sweatshops and their battle for basic labour rights. The week will also feature the UK premiere of The Fortress (2008), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno festival in 2008 and which investigates the hidden world of a Swiss reception centre for asylum seekers. Following the June 16 screening of The Fortress will be a panel discussion around the depiction of refugees in film that will feature well known film directors and people who have fled their country. During the day, Refugee Action will host a tea party with refugees and a display of award-winning photography in the delegate centre.

Over the course of the week, there will also be an opportunity to see Ellen Kuras’ (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) Oscar nominated documentary, The Betrayal (2008). Curated as part of the Refuge in Films festival, it is a film 20 years in the making that follows a Laotian family who have sought refuge in an unwelcoming Brooklyn, New York. There will also be screenings and a discussion with Mohamed Maklouf, film director and exile.

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For younger viewers The Future Film Institute will hand over its programming of films and events to the Refuge in Films festival throughout the weekend of 19-21 June. The festival is curated by young people from New Generation and Refugee Youth, who come from 19 different countries. They have put together an amazing programme to celebrate Refugee Week. A series of visual workshops and performances will also be taking place over the weekend as well as the launch of Becoming a Londoner, a book produced by young people about their experiences of the process of becoming part of their new city. In the Mediatheque, there will be a special collection jointly curated by The Future Film Institute and Refuge in Film who will also co-host the monthly Future Film discussion group during the weekend. (from BFI Press Release)

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