News

FilmAid and Every Mother Counts at The Bulgari

Porter Magazine 2014

Porter Magazine 2014

It is fundamental to work together to save each and every woman.

Statistics show that one woman dies every two minutes from complications during pregnancy and birth. This is why FilmAid was honored to join Christy Turlington Burns for Porter Magazine's event with Every Mother Counts at The Bulgari, to raise awareness of the vital need for the continued progress and preservation of maternal health. 

Driven by her own experience of pregnancy and giving birth, Christy founded Every Mother Counts with the aim of providing every mother with the same level of information and healthcare she had received when she needed it most. 

Stella and Sian speak at bulgari.JPG

A touching speech was given on behalf of FilmAid by FilmAid’s UK Chair, Sian Sutherland, and FilmAid’s Country Director for Kenya, Stella Suge. 

Emphasizing the common ground shared by the two organizations, Sian discussed Every Mother Counts and FilmAid’s important contributions to safeguarding women’s health and dignity by the provision of information and the giving of hope, life skills, and voices.

 

Stella spoke of her first-hand experience working on a FilmAid maternal health program based in two of the largest refugee camps in the world, Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya. With over half a million people living as refugees in Kenya, and over half of these people being women, maternal health necessitates urgent action. Stella expressed that she had seen women die as a result of absence of knowledge and information, a situation that was complicated further by cultural issues relating to how women receive professional hospital treatment. In light of these experiences, FilmAid devised a program that included creating an informative film made by and for refugees. The film focussed on informing viewers of the critical need and benefits of maternal health, thus contributing to the ongoing welfare of mothers and thier children. 

 

Chivas Regal donate $100,000 to FilmAid at Cannes 2014

Global film elite including Naomi Watts, Harvey Weinstein, Gael Garcia Bernal gathered on Friday May 16 at the world famous Charles Finch Filmmakers Dinner in Cannes where FilmAid received a generous donation from our long-time supporter Chivas Regal. The highly anticipated annual dinner, filled with international superstars and with the stunning Riviera as a backdrop, was held during the Cannes Film Festival 2014 and confirmed the film industry’s dedication to using media to support marginalized and vulnerable communities. 

World-class actor and social activist Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Illusionist, Primal Fear) invited guests to toast the charitable efforts of the film industry and praised the work of FilmAid highlighting our work to help, “people who are voiceless, need to have their stories told or need what is going on around them documented. There’s an empowerment in giving people the tools to tell their own story.” Cannes Film Festival is known for showing its political conscience, and the Charles Finch dinner was no exception.

The evening brought together film stars, directors and producers to celebrate the opening of the film festival. Christopher Hampton and Alfonso Cuáron were presented with the Filmmaker Award for their massive and lasting contributions to the film industry.

The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Edward Norton leading the final toast and presenting a check of $100,000 to FilmAid’s Executive Director, Simon Goff on behalf of Chivas. Norton commented, “It is a great pleasure to be here tonight at the Charles Finch Filmmakers Dinner, sponsored by Chivas Regal 25. To be able to present FilmAid with such a generous donation on behalf of Chivas Regal is a great honor… Increasingly, we are seeing brands addressing social and environmental issues more than ever before. Charitable causes such as FilmAid need support in order to drive awareness and change consumer attitudes and behavior. With the help of partners like Chivas Regal around the world, FilmAid will be able to reach their next milestone”.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to our long-time supporter, Chivas Regal, for their on-going generosity, as well as to Charles Finch and Edward Norton for paying tribute to FilmAid.

FilmAid at Fifteen

Fifteen years ago, as I lay in bed, listening to morning radio, my heart ached from the tales of children languishing in refugee camps. I had been following the plight of the Kosovar refugees for months: each image and story intensifying my desire to do something, anything.  

The radio report detailed the emotional trauma, boredom, uncertainty, and the high toll that war extracts from innocent, displaced peoples – especially women and children. Key necessities, like food, medicine, and shelter were being delivered by aid agencies; but people were still left in a state of fear and hopelessness. As a professional filmmaker, I wondered if movies could provide some psychological relief, and with that thought, a door to the complex world of humanitarian aid cracked open, I stepped through and FilmAid was born.

The original idea was to hold outdoor screenings to feed the imagination and the soul while providing life-saving messages on the big screen. I assembled a crew of committed volunteers and a stash of films. Six weeks later, I was on my way to Macedonia, armed with what would become FilmAid’s first Mobile Cinema - a generator, projectors, and screens loaded into the back of a truck. FilmAid's experience in Macedonia and Kosovo successfully proved the power of the big screen: films restore hope and provide education and inspiration.

1999_KSV_filmaidcrewlaysoutscreen_1.jpg

Over the years, FilmAid has brought the power of film to millions of refugees and displaced persons, in environments as diverse as Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, Nairobi slums, New Orleans, the Thailand-Myanmar border, Afghanistan, Haiti and most recently Jordan.  Our programs now include participatory filmmaking, skills training, facilitated video workshops, mass awareness campaigns, and mentoring to help refugees achieve their dreams.

Despite FilmAid’s successes, sadly, we all still wake up to stories of people fleeing their homes. They are driven from safety and comfort by human cruelty or natural disasters. Civil wars, conflict and genocide leave millions homeless around the world. Three years into Syria’s civil war over 9 million people have been forced to flee their homes. The ongoing turmoil in South Sudan continues to displace people into neighboring countries. The global refugee situation is becoming more urgent than ever before. We need your help to continue and expand our work.

Fifteen years ago, a radio report caused me to get up and start this journey. Please support us by donating nowYour generosity will help us educate, empower and inspire refugees displaced by conflict and natural disaster from South Sudan to Syria and Thailand to Colombia. Let me paraphrase philosopher Bertrand Russell when he described his three simple passions: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and the compassion for the suffering of mankind. These continue to drive me and so many others to do what we can to ease the pain of others. FilmAid embodies this universal human spirit and is deeply committed to projecting hope and giving voice to those whose voices are rarely heard.

Thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do this work without you!

Caroline Baron,
Founder, FilmAid International

 

FilmAid Asia’s Power of Film Gala 2014

On March 22, 2014, Clearwater Bay Studios, Hong Kong, was over run by influential individuals from the film and humanitarian sector. More than 400 people arrived from around the globe to celebrate FilmAid Asia’s Power of Film Gala and ultimately raise over HK$3.5 million. The evening was filled with generous individuals, committed to FilmAid’s mission of projecting hope and changing lives through the medium of film. 

This was the Gala’s third year and the third time for Moet & Chandon to demonstrate their unwavering support of FilmAid Asia by acting as the presenting partner for the event. The night was filled with stars, and members of the FilmAid Board, unanimously dedicated to FilmAid’s values; Tilda Swinton and Donnie Yen paid tribute to the humanitarian filmmaker Ruby Yang, whilst other guests included Jamie Campbell Bower, Fan Bingbing, Godfrey Gao, and Cheng Pei-pei.

Ruby Yang was honoured by FilmAid Asia for her contribution to using media to promote awareness of crucial social issues, for example, through founding Chang Ai Media Project to raise awareness of HIV in China. On top of that, Yang’s world renowned documentaries touch on diverse themes, ranging from the posionous consequences of chemical plants, to the lives of gay men in China who are obliged to marry women in order to please their parents.

The evening was spent enjoying a performance by Grandmaster Flash . After cocktails, guests were seated for a special dinner prepared by the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Following this, the charity auction begun, which included items such as tickets to Burberry's London Fashion show, and an original artwork by graffiti artist Mr Brainwash. In addition, and as a complete surprise to everyone, Tilda Swinton ingeniously auctioned off the reading of a bedtime story to the highest bidder in the room. Jamie Campbell Bower attended the Gala as FilmAid's Global Artist Council member and assisted Levina Li-Cadman and Claire Breen Melwani raise funds during the Educate Through Film section. Jamie also auctioned his guitar to raise extra funds.  All this money raised is invaluable and supports the ongoing programs in Asia, which include skills training for NGOs, film production, community outreach to refugees and mobile cinemas which raise awareness of social and health issues.

FilmAid thanks its generous sponsors for the event, and the unceasing generosity of the guests, who made the third inaugural Power of Film Gala Asia, the best yet.

Winning Film Released in Michael Kiwanuka & FilmAid Music Video Competition

The winning film in Michael Kiwanuka and FilmAid's music video contest has been released on Vevo, it was announced today. You can view the video hereBelow, NeeNee Productions' Gayle Nosal discusses the creation of the video, winning the competition, and what's next for their project.

The footage seen in our music video came from a two-week field production in Uganda in the summer of 2013. The filmmaking team at Inflatable Film—Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday and Chris Towey—traveled from Rwanda and Seattle to meet NeeNee Productions and collaborate on the initial phase of a longer-term production to follow a group of refugee and displaced teenage girls who live together in Uganda, hoping to stay in school and pursue their dreams for the future. The longer-term goal of the project is to capture over time the important dynamics of the girls’ lives—their shared pasts, their common household, their larger community, and their future pathways. 

NeeNee Productions is returning to Uganda in February 2014 to continue gathering footage of the girls as well as their families and friends in the surrounding communities. We are also excited to share that during our February trip, NeeNee is collaborating with Ugandan professionals to bring various skills and expertise to the project and provide creative and personal mentoring to the girls. For example, in February, NeeNee Productions is hiring four professional, university-educated Ugandan women as camera/video instructor (using video cameras donated to the girls by NeeNee), cultural and community liaison story-telling teacher, interviewer, and refugee consultant. NeeNee has also hired a Ugandan-based videographer for this trip.

We at NeeNee Productions are overjoyed that FilmAid and Michael Kiwanuka chose our music video to be the grand prizewinner of their contest. We extend our deepest gratitude to the young women featured in the music video, to their families and friends, and to the people of Think Humanity, who are dedicated to educating these girls. The ongoing project will culminate in a documentary film as well as a unique video content online. You can follow the progress of these girls and our project at www.neeneeproductions.com and on twitter at @intheneenee

On behalf of everyone involved at NeeNee Productions, we would like to thank FilmAid, Michael Kiwanuka, Talenthouse as well as Inflatable Film and Think Humanity for the opportunity to enter this contest and share our deep connection to the girls with others.

Global finalist for 2013 Intercultural Innovation Award

Today the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group announced FilmAid as one of only 10 global finalists for the 2013 Intercultural Innovation Award.

FilmAid has been selected as a finalist for its work in the field of film and media, bringing life-saving information, psychological relief and much-needed hope to refugees and other communities in need in Northern Kenya and around the globe. Representatives from FilmAid Kenya will present FilmAid’s work at the Viennese Volkstheatre on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013.

President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President, Corporate Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group will chair the ceremony, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. High-level representatives of the UNAOC and the BMW Group will give the award to the five top organizations.

Since 2011, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group have engaged in a historic partnership geared towards creating a new model for collaboration between the private sector and the UN system. To that end, the two organizations have established The Intercultural Innovation Award whose mandate is to select highly innovative grassroots projects that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding and make vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies.

FilmAid is honored and thankful to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group for this fantastic opportunity! 


Guests Attend FilmAid Asia Screening of "Plastic Oceans"

Jellyfish.jpg

Last night FilmAid Asia and long term supporters Moet & Chandon and The Upper House teamed up to host an exclusive cocktail and screening of "Plastic Oceans" - a documentary that unveils the catastrophic impact of disposable plastic on the environment.

Approximately 50 guests were able to preview the highly anticipated film and seek insight from Film Producer, Jo Ruxton, and Chief Conservations Officer, Cynthia Phillips, PHD, on solutions to the global plastic disaster.

To view the film yourself, please contact kforster@filmaid.org.

FilmAid honored by Cinema for Peace

Pictured Left: Alfre Woodard, Global Artist Council Member, and Caroline Baron, FilmAid Founder, take questions at the Cinema for Peace Gala, held on January 11, 2013 in Los Angeles. Woodard and Baron, joined by FilmAid Board Member Sharon Swart, attended the Gala where FilmAid was honored for its work with film in refugee camps. The Cinema for Peace Gala, a featured event leading up to the Golden Globes, honors work of film-related organizations and their celebrity partners.

Bid in Special CharityBuzz Auction to Benefit FilmAid!

FilmAid will be the beneficiary of a special CharityBuzz auction with lots including tickets to the 2014 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala in Hollywood, passes to AFI FEST 2014 (including VIP after party), and a stunning piece of art by Kenyan artist and conservationist, Anthony Russell.

Proceeds from the auction will go to FilmAid, helping us to fulfill our mission by supporting our core programs. Be sure to place your bids before the auction ends on January 21. 

Here are the lots available for bidding now:

Sudan, 2010 by Kenyan artist/conservationist Anthony Russell

A stunning piece, featuring pictorial details of Sudan's Dinka women, shot and collected over 20 years. Hot resin pour in two layer. Meru oak frame, stained, wire wool scrub, and clear polished. Framed and signed by the artist. Click here for more details and to bid on this piece.

Two (2) tickets to the 2014 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala in Hollywood, Honoring Jane Fonda

Two (2) member tickets to the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award gala, honoring Jane Fonda on June 5th, 2014 in Hollywood, CA. 

Join the Oscar-winning actress/activist for an exciting, black-tie evening known for its star-power and revealing speeches. Includes a pre-event cocktail reception, a buffet dinner and The Tribute ceremony. 

Attendees at prior AFI Life Achievement Awards have included President Bill Clinton, Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Natalie Portman, Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey. The event will be broadcast on TNT and TCM. 

Two (2) Cinepass Express Passes to AFI FEST 2014 and two (2) tickets to a Centerpiece Gala with VIP after party access


Two (2) Cinepass Express passes to the American Film Institute's annual Los Angeles-based film festival, AFI FEST 2014. Includes a pair of tickets to the winner's choice of a Centerpiece Gala with a VIP after party. (Centerpiece Galas for the 2013 festival included films such as "Lone Survivor" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.") Cinepass Express gives access to ALL festival screenings (except Galas) with no waiting, plus access to the festival's Cinema Lounge for panels and happy hours.

For more details and to start bidding, visit the CharityBuzz site now - good luck!


Stars shine for FilmAid fundraising PSA: “Why Film?”

Actors Rufus Sewell, Sarita Choudhury and Sienna Guillory – alongside refugees from Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya – are featured in FilmAid’s new PSA, “Why Film?” which launches today at www.filmaid.org/whyfilm

Produced with the support of Ridley Scott Associates and independent filmmaker K. Ryan Jones, the two minute film asks the fundamental question why film and provides compelling examples of the role film, and the work of FilmAid, plays in humanitarian crises.

Shot in New York, London and Kenya, “Why Film?” brings together members of the film community from a variety of backgrounds, lending their voices to help raise vital funds for FilmAid International. Filming in London, Sienna Guillory said, “The work that FilmAid does is vital. The conditions they operate in, and the lengths they go to bring mobile cinemas into refugee camps, are extraordinary. Teaching essential film-making skills to refugees to ensure that life-saving information is shared through the camps, whilst also using film to give people something other than loss they can bond over, and a means to escape their emotional situation is so important. I hope that ‘Why Film?’ helps people understand why film aid is a necessity and not a luxury.” 

Founded in 1999 by award-winning producer Caroline Baron (Capote, Monsoon Wedding), FilmAid is a non-profit, charitable organization with a mission to use the power of film and media to bring life-saving information, psychological relief and much-needed hope to refugees and other communities in need around the globe.

Media Contact:
Chloe Franses, The Global Cause Consultancy
chloe@theglobalcauseconsultancy.com
+44 777 934 5371