10th Annual FilmAid Film Festival: Brave Voices

10 YEARS CELEBRATING REFUGEE VOICES

This September and October, FilmAid hosted its 10th Annual Film Festival, in partnership with UNHCR and Safaricom, to celebrate the numerous untold stories from refugees and other marginalized populations throughout the world.

Showcasing the films of young refugee filmmakers from Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps, the festival also provides an opportunity for international filmmakers to share their stories on this year's theme, "Where I Am - Stories of the relationship between identity and the environment."

The festival is an opportunity to not only showcase the skills of FilmAid's students, but to provide them with access so their voices can be heard. It is a celebration of all the talent and tenacity of FilmAid students. Film screening events were complimented by panel discussions focusing on "Media, Arts and the Refugee Narrative" with FilmAid's Creative Director and winning FilmAid Journalism Training graduate alongside guest speakers from Amnesty International, The Media Council of Kenya, and The Kenyan Star.

FilmAid's Film Festival is held annually in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kakuma Refugee Camp and in multiple locations in Nairobi, including the slums of Eastleigh and Kibera where many refugees and migrants live. The festival is supported by the US Government, UNHCR and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Along with our partners and sponsers we strive to fulfll FilmAid's mission of informing, inspiring and empowering refugees and other marginalized populations throughout the world. FilmAid has been training, supporting and empowering more refugee youth to tell their own stories through the power of film and media over the past 15 years, and more than 1000 young people have been through our training programs. Our students go on to become advocates for themselves and their own communities. They become citizen journalists, advocates for girls rights, fixers for visiting journalists, communications staff for other NGOs in the camp, and role models for their community. One FilmAid alum recently launched the first film festival in South Sudan, a country that is facing renewed conflict, and the spectre of genocide right now. Their voices are critical not only as a catalyst for social change, but as the engine that drives that process forward. Below are just some of the intrepid young people who participated in this year's film festival. We salute them all!

Meet the STorytellers

(From right to left) Maya, Journalism Award Winner; Perpetua, FilmAid Field Manager, Kakuma; Justin, Filmmaking Award Winner; Isse, Journalism Award Winner. 

(From right to left) Maya, Journalism Award Winner; Perpetua, FilmAid Field Manager, Kakuma; Justin, Filmmaking Award Winner; Isse, Journalism Award Winner. 

FilmAid  storytellers Justin, Maya and Isse just before boarding the plane from Kakuma to Nairobi. 

FilmAid  storytellers Justin, Maya and Isse just before boarding the plane from Kakuma to Nairobi. 

FilmAid student filmmaker, editor, writer, Maria Noor Ahmed, 19 at the FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp. 

FilmAid student filmmaker, editor, writer, Maria Noor Ahmed, 19 at the FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp. 

I’m a radio presenter at Risala FM and I do lots of stories in the Somali language which makes me reach a large number of people, but the filmmaking training has opened up my mind to start scripting stories that can be heard all over the world.
— Maria Noor Ahmed

Meet Our Journalists

I want to act as a voice to every woman just like my mother who doesn’t know how to defend her own rights. I will do this by becoming a journalist.
FilmAid’s Journalist Training was amazing because I gained more skills and my confidence has been boosted. This means a great deal to me because I am now able to create my own story and a few features.
— Maya Aluel Kur (South Sudanese, 20 years old, interested in photography and writing) *Winner of 2016 Best Journalist Award
Isse Abdullahi Hassan, FilmAid Journalism Award Winner, 2016

Isse Abdullahi Hassan, FilmAid Journalism Award Winner, 2016

I have always wanted to be a voice of positive influence to the youth and I knew journalism would provide me with the necessary skills to achieve my dreams. I love writing and I would like to pursue journalism as a profession.
— Isse Abdullahi Hassan (Somali, 25 years old, interested in creative writing and radio reporting)

Films from Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps

Dependency is a Dark Life - The story of Raho who dropped out of school to get married only to be divorced by her husband a few years later. This didn’t stop her from raising her child and gaining and education to help her start a successful business.

Hawo Somali - The documentary follows Hawo, a wife and mother who has lived in Dadaab for 30 years. She manages a group of women whom she trained in the making of traditional Somali mats. What started out as a hobby is now a successful business that attracts many customers.

Love Has No Boundaries - A touching drama about a young couple of different nationalities. They are both madly in love but will their family ever accept their relationship? This is a taboo issue in Kakuma, but one the students felt compelled to address with tenderness and humor in order to create change and acceptance in their own communities. 

450 Walk To Safety - The drama tells the story of Maka, a 32-year-old widow and a mother of two whose husband was killed by rebels for refusing to give up his son. When rebels return to raid her village Maka and her family become a target and are forced to flee.

Jirde The Artist - Jirde exhibits the creativity of a professional artist without having attended art school and without any training. He inherited his gift from his father, also a successful graphic designer but he learned how to be a success by himself.

Endless Conflict - This is a story about Dubow, a Kenyan man married to a Somali woman, Madheq.They are blessed with two beautiful children. Madheq wants to go back to Somali but Dubow refuses and plans to take her to live in Garrisa. Madheq takes matters into her own hands.

Multi-Talented Star - This inspiring documentary teaches us about a young and talented youth from Kakuma Refugee Camp named, Angelo Konchgor, seen through the eyes of those who know him best. Angelo is a filmmaker, a footballer, an actor and an artist. He uses his talents and ambition to educate his community members on peaceful coexistence. "Talent is something that makes every human great." 

To watch films from this year's festival CLICK HERE. 

FilmAid's Skills Development Program

FilmAid Festival Award Winner (Love Has No Boundaries) Justin Ruharuka Abel, refugee from Congo.

FilmAid Festival Award Winner (Love Has No Boundaries) Justin Ruharuka Abel, refugee from Congo.

Through film, photography, journalism, radio and digital media education, FilmAid gives individuals the creative and technical skills necessary to advocate for the needs of their communities and to express themselves with pride and creativity. FilmAid is a community-based communications organization, teaching skills and integrating local communities in the media making process. Our training program empowers young people to tell their own stories in their own voice. 

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