How We Started

In 1999, as the war raged in Kosovo, independent producer Caroline Baron tuned into a radio story covering the crisis. The report explained that the key necessities — food, medicine, and shelter —were being handled by large humanitarian aid agencies, but a big, unresolved problem facing the hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees was boredom and hopelessness. Coming from the film industry, this sparked an idea for Caroline: she would bring movies to the camps.

I had an idea; I would rally the entertainment industry to bring films to the camps. We would hold outdoor screenings, feed the imagination and the soul while providing life saving messages on the big screen to people with little access to crucial information.
— Caroline Baron

Within 48 hours, Caroline's idea had been set in motion. She mobilized funding from the film industry and assembled a crew of committed volunteers and a stash of films and left for Macedonia. They worked in the Macedonian camps screening educational shows about HIV prevention and landmine awareness between screenings of movies like E.T,  classic Charlie Chaplin films and Tom & Jerry cartoons. FilmAid's experience in Macedonia and Kosovo proved the power of the big screen: films can restore hope and provide education and inspiration. 

This project was so well received that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNHCR invited FilmAid to extend and expand their activities on a global scale. Since 1999, FilmAid has worked with refugees, displaced groups and marginalized individuals from across the world, bringing them hope and helping to make their voices heard.