Refugees in Focus: A film festival to commemorate World Refugee Day

Post date: Jun 2, 2011 7:10:43 PM

Six films, three nights, ten million stories.

Featuring award-winning documentaries exploring the courage, plight and triumph

of refugee journeys to new lives

Watch. Think. Discuss.

June 26, 27 & 28, 2012

Emily Griffith Technical College

1250 Welton St.

Denver, Colorado

Room 123, Media Center


This event, commemorating World Refugee Day, is free and open to the public.

Click on the images below to view the trailers for these films.

Tuesday, June 26: Finding Community

6:00 p.m.

The Letter: An American Town and the 'Somali Invasion'

(2003) Not Rated

76 minutes

In the wake of the 9/11 tragedies, a firestorm of controversy erupts when 1,100 Somali refugees move to predominantly white Lewiston, Maine. When the local mayor writes a letter asking that no more Somalis relocate to Lewiston, the stage is set for a crossfire of emotions and interpretation of intentions. This documentary looks at the issue from multiple perspectives and provides insight into how communities grow and evolve.

7:30 p.m.A Place in the World

(2012) Not Rated

88 minutes

Refugees in Focus is pleased to present an advance screening of this not-yet-released documentary. Just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, is a small charter school that brings together refugee children from war-torn countries and teaches them alongside local American children. The film follows three families with ties to the school, a first-year teacher, and the new principal of the school over the course of two years, as they adapt to, and learn from, this diverse and complex social environment. The film asks the question of whether we can learn to live together in this rapidly changing world.

Wednesday, June 27: Transitions and memories

6:00 p.m.Home Across Lands

2008 Rated G

59 minutes

This documentary chronicles the journey of a small group of Kunama refugees from the Eritrea-Ethiopia border area leaving behind years of languishing in a refugee camp as they strive to become self-reliant, invested participants in their new home in America. Guiding their transition is the resettlement agency, International Institute of Rhode Island, that connects them to the resources they need as they work to reestablish their sense of community in a place that is unfamiliar and sometimes overwhelming.

7:30 p.m.Heavy Metal in Baghdad*

2008 Rated R

84 minutes

Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult (if not impossible) proposition, but after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for one band in which real freedom seemed possible. From 2003-2006, Iraq disintegrated around them while Acrassicauda struggled to stay together and stay alive, always refusing to let their heavy metal dreams die. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis.

*Tentative. This selection is subject to change.

Thursday, June 28 The possibility for a better future

6:00 p.m.Pushing the Elephant

2010 Not rated

83 minutes

Rose Mapendo was forced to leave her daughter behind when she fled the genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After a decade of separation, Rose must now work to unite her family as she fights for the future of her country, advocating peace and forgiveness in Congo and within her own home. This family portrait unfolds against the wider drama of war, and explores the long-term and often hidden effects of war on women and families.

7:45 p.m.The Last Survivor

2010 Not Rated

88 minutes

This award winning documentary presents the stories of four Survivors and their struggle to make sense of tragedy by working to educate a new generation, inspire tolerance and spark a civic response to mass atrocity crimes. Following the lives of survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities – The Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and Congo – The Last Survivor presents a unique opportunity to learn from the lessons and mistakes of our past in order to have a lasting social impact on how we act collectively in the face of similar issues which still exist today.