Summer 2008 Newsletter 


projecting hope and changing lives through the power of film

 

 

News From the Field...

FilmAid's Recent Events...

FilmAid in the News...

Grant Updates...


FILMAID COMPLETES A SERIES OF 5 EDUCATIONAL FILMS IN DADAAB, KENYA

FilmAid is proud to announce the completion of a series of 5 films about the prevention of malaria and cholera, proper immunization, early marriage, and peace building. These films were created as part of FilmAid’s Community-Based Video Productions. They were filmed and produced locally and feature the refugee community in Dadaab Camp, where the movies were filmed.

The films address the health and social issues plaguing the predominately Somali community in Dadaab Refugee Camp in western Kenya. The films were made in a culturally sensitive manner in the local Somali language, ensuring that religious beliefs, social mores and ways of life are portrayed accurately. The films are currently being screened to the Dadaab refugee communities.

 

FILMAID CO-PRESENTS

"KIBERA FILM NIGHT"

On August 7th, 2008, FilmAid co-presented "Kibera Film Night" in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by Hot Sun Foundation. The evening consisted of a series of local films, screened outdoors for over one thousand people.

The event included the Kibera premier of THE KNIFE GRINDER'S TALE, based on the short story by award winning (Photo courtesy of Hot Sun Foundation) Kenyan author, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, about a father's journey to find out why his son was pointlessly murdered in the slums of Nairobi. In attendance was Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, and author of the best selling book, A LONG WAY GONE: MEMOIRS OF A BOY SOLDIER.

 

The evening also featured AFRICAN RUNNERS, a documentary by Sir Mohinder Dhillon, internationally acclaimed Kenyan photographer, who was in attendance, and KIBERA KID a short fictional film, and winner of seven international awards, that tells the story of an orphan who must choose between a life of crime and redemption. The final film, produced by local Kibera youth, was TRAIN MENACE, a short documentary about the train that runs through Kibera affecting everyone’s daily life.

Kibera is considered to be the second largest slum in Africa with a population of about one million people.

 

 

A SPECIAL SCREENING IN UGANDA

In early July, FilmAid partnered with Open Air Cinema and the filmmakers and producers of WAR DANCE to bring this documentary back to the people of the Patongo refugee camp in war-torn Northern Uganda where the film was created.

Charles Otieno, FilmAid’s Kenya Country Manager traveled to Uganda and was on-hand to help facilitate the screening. The documentary follows the courageous efforts of Patongo’s students as they pour their hearts into winning Uganda’s National Music Competition. This film screening was the first time the Patongo refugee community – many of them the stars of the film – were seeing the movie.

 

 

FILMAID SUMMER FIELD VOLUNTEER DAVID OSIT WORKS WITH REFUGEE POPULATIONS IN KENYA

This past summer, field volunteer David Osit worked with the refugee community in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. He held filmmaking workshops for members of FilmAid's Participatory Video Program (PVP) on single-camera shooting, Final Cut Pro, editing, documentary film-making, and the differences between various genres of film.

In conjunction with Janet Ousley from the IRC (International Rescue Committee) , David produced and directed a short film about Tuberculosis prevention and treatment, titled TB AND YOU. It was filmed with the participation of community members and IRC staff in Kakuma Camp. The film was created to lessen the spread of TB in the camp. The film will be shown in clinics and community centers throughout the camp.

David Osit is a Wallenberg fellow and undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. Over the course of several months in the summer of 2008, David traveled throughout East Africa while working with FilmAid, leading workshops on film editing, production and general film studies in addition to evaluating and monitoring FilmAid operations in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.


FILMAID PARTNERS WITH UNHCR FOR THE 3RD ANNUAL REFUGEE FILM FESTIVAL IN TOKYO, JAPAN

On June 20th, FilmAid was pleased to present a series of short films as part of the 3rd Annual Refugee Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan. The series was titled KAKUMA CAMP FILMS. The films are a by-product of FilmAid’s Participatory Video Program.

The theme of this year’s festival was “Refugees – the Human Side.” It focused on the complex issues in Africa, and the ongoing conflict in Iraq. The Refugee Film Festival is part of UNHCR’s year-round commitment to raising awareness of the plight of the world’s ever-increasing 33 million refugees. The festival aims to give a voice to seldom-heard stories of hope, despair, and courage, and to inspire involvement and encourage activism to make a difference.

 

FILMAID CO-HOSTS A RECEPTION COMMEMORATING WORLD REFUGEE DAY

On June 20th, FilmAid co-hosted a reception with UNHCR-NY and The Aperture Foundation to commemorate World Refugee Day. At this event, internationally renowned photographer and former Afghan refugee, Zalmaï, shared his experiences as a refugee and presented select photographs from his upcoming book, Silent Exodus: Portraits of Iraqi Refugees in Exile (Aperture/UNHCR, October 2008) at the gallery of the Aperture Foundation in New York.

Abraham Awolich, (seen on right) was one of the guest speakers and is one of the “lost boys” of Sudan. The “lost boys” refers to the more than 27,000 young men and boys who were displaced and/or orphaned during the two decades long war in South Sudan. Mr. Awolich shared his powerful story and talked about his work as an activist for the New Sudan Education Initiative (NESEI).

Media presentations were made by UNHCR and FilmAid on the global efforts being made to protect and support refugees. FilmAid would like to thank all of the members of the art, photography, film, and humanitarian aid fields that came out to support this event!

 

FILMAID-UK PARTNERS WITH THE CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION TO PREMIERE SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL AT CANADA HOUSE IN LONDON

On July 22nd, FilmAid-UK, in partnership with the Canadian High Commission, presented the UK premiere of the Canadian film, SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL at Canada House in Trafalgar Square. Director Roger Spottiswoode attended the event and iintroduced the film.

“Shake Hands with the Devil” is a dramatic Canadian feature film about Romeo Dallaire, based on his book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.
The film recounts Dallaire's harrowing personal journey during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and the UN's failure to heed Dallaire's desperate pleas for help.

 

FILMAID PARTNERS WITH GRAND CLASSICS FOR BENEFIT SCREENING

On June 3rd, FilmAid was honored to be the beneficiary of a screening of the film, THE QUIET MAN hosted by award-winningactor Gabriel Byrne.The event took place at Soho House and was co-sponsored by THE WEEK and The Diamond Trading Company.

The GRAND CLASSICS film series, launched by Katrina Pavlos and Vanessa Wingate Bowlby of Indyssey Entertainment, features a selection of the world’s most renowned filmmakers and actors presenting the films that have most influenced their careers.

FilmAid would especially like to thank Katrina Pavlos, everyone at GRAND CLASSICS, and those who attended the event for believing in and supporting our cause.

(Photo courtesy of Joe Corrigan - Getty Images) (From left to right - Vincent Sandoval-FilmAid Volunteer, Caroline Avakian-Director of Communications and External Relations for FilmAid, Gabriel Byrne-Emmy nominated actor and star of the HBO series In Treatment, and Steven Mendelsohn-Executive Director of FilmAid)

 

FILMAID AT THE DOWNTOWN LA FILM FESTIVAL

The first annual Downtown LA Film Festival took place August 13th- 17th. As a community partner of the Downtown LA Film Festival, a series of short films produced by the young people involved in FilmAid's PVP (Participatory Filmmaking Program) were screened as part of the film festival's Afrique 360 film series. The series took place on August 16th at L.A. Center Studios and James Brooke, FilmAid's L.A. Director was on hand to facilitate the PVP film screenings.

The Downtown Film Festival was established by the organizers of SLFF, Inc., the Silver Lake Film Festival a 501(c) 3 nonprofit arts organization), to celebrate the resurgence of Downtown L.A. in all its facets – its historic movie palaces core, its legendary cultural and ethnic institutions, and its thriving business and residential communities. In 2008, its inaugural year, the Downtown Film Festival – Los Angeles will showcase why Downtown has become L.A.’s most exciting “new” community.

 

FILMAID CELEBRATES ITS SECOND “POWER OF FILM” GALA

On April 9th, FilmAid International celebrated it’s second annual Power of Film Gala at Capitale in New York City. The event was a huge success. Over 300 people joined Caroline Baron, Founder & Co-Chair of FilmAid International and presenter and supporter, Christy Turlington to celebrate FilmAid’s achievements of using the power of film to educate, entertain and inspire the world’s most vulnerable people.

 

(From Left: Danny Glover, Caroline Baron, and Valentino Achak Deng)

Our distinguished honorees that evening included Valentino Achak Deng, the Sudanese “lost boy” who is the subject of the new Dave Eggers book, What is the What; actor, producer and activist, Danny Glover; journalist and special correspondent for the Oprah Show and National Geographic Channel, Lisa Ling; and Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine & Shine Global, filmmakers and producers of WAR DANCE.

 

Thank you to all of our friends and contributors who made our 2nd Annual Power of Film Gala such a positive and memorable evening. We are proud to be where we are positioned today: educating and brightening the lives of over 1 million displaced people living in refugee camps and communities left out of the information age – and poised to reach many, many more.



FILMAID FOUNDER CAROLINE BARON FEATURED IN VARIETY'S PHILANTHROPY REPORT 2008

Variety Magazine’s Philanthropy Report issued annually features FilmAid founder Caroline Baron and her work with FilmAid. The piece titled “Cinema’s Helping Hands” discusses how moviemakers are using film to give back to society and the world around them. To Read the Article Click Here!

 

FILMAID IS THE RECIPIENT OF EXCITING NEW GRANTS

FilmAid has proudly been chosen to be the recipient of a grant from Glamour Reel Moments to go towards improving the lives of women and girls in East Africa. Glamour Reel Moments is an award-winning short film series inspired by Glamour readers’ real life stories. Directorial alumni include Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kirsten Dunst.

FilmAid has also been awarded a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The grant will support the HFPA Kakuma Peace and Reconciliation Series for Sudanese refugees in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and the Participatory Video Project for refugee youth.

The Academy Foundation has awarded FilmAid an institutional grant for our evening screenings in Kenya. One of the Academy Foundation's fundamental purposes is to foster educational activities between the public and the film industry, and to encourage an appreciation of the motion picture as an art form and a vocation.

Additionally, FilmAid has received a grant from the M•A•C AIDS Fund that will go towards HIV education and awareness in the refugee camps where FilmAid works. Established in 1994 by M•A•C Cosmetics, the M•A•C AIDS Fund supports men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally.

Your support helps FilmAid reach thousands of the world's neediest with critical information and moments of joy.

Please donate. Your generosity goes a long way:

$50 = One month of supplies for the Participatory Video Program

$100 = One month of fuel to run evening screenings for 1,000+ refugees

$400= One camera for the camp youth