For Sama triumphs at the first International Migration Film Festival
- The festival ended with very positive viewing rates for its films screening on Festival Scope, its ceremonies aired on CNN Turk, its live talks and interviews on Instagram and its online exhibitions
From 14 to 21 June the first International Migration Film Festival took place online. Over 30 million people watched the diverse and powerful movies on Festival Scope, saw the ceremonies on CNN Turk, visited the online exhibitions and followed live talks and interviews on Instagram. According to the festival's organisers, the event's intention was to create understanding towards refugees and migrants through film, as confirmed by acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, head of the jury of the International Feature Film Competition.
The winner of the International Feature Film Competition was acclaimed documentary For Sama [+see also:
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile], by director and producer Waad Al-Kateab and director Edward Watts, who give intimate insights into war torn Aleppo in Syria, all the while Al-Kateab explains to her daughter Sama the circumstances of how the political situation has changed their lives. The jury chose the film for its strong story that will “change our perspectives on the refugee crisis” and the masterfully crafted editing that “turns the present traumatic footage into a powerful narration.” After winning the prize, Al-Kateab said: “I lived in Turkey for a year and a half and was one of the refugees, now I'm a refugee in the UK. I think it’s very important for the people in Turkey to see For Sama to know what refugees are going through, why they became refugees and what the challenges they have are.”
The prize of the UNICEF International Short Film Competition went to the film Children of the Shore by Amelia Nanni, describing how two children meet and by that bring worlds together. Nanni said, "I will share half of the price with other people, friends who do their arts in this crisis in a system where art is discredited and with friends in Belgium who don't have the "right" paper and passport to study there." The prize of the Same Boat Short Film Competition went to There by Zeynep Köprülü, telling the story of an actress who has to decide between continuing her career in France or returning to Turkey to her ill father, knowing that she won’t be able to turn back afterwards. Köprülü said, "We value very highly our participation in this selection which raises awareness about migration". Other awards went to feature films Just Like My Son [+see also:
interview: Costanza Quatriglio
film profile], Oskar & Lilli [+see also:
film profile] and Scent Of My Daughter [+see also:
film profile], and short films Ronaldo and The Cracker Effect.
Additionally to the film programme online exhibitions are accessible on the festival's website, such as “One Point To Other”, which explores the dynamic experience of migration via multimedia. On the festival's official Instagram account, filmmakers, actors and academicians participated in 20 live talks, 34 Q&As, four workshops and four masterclasses (which can still be accessed) to discuss the relation between cinema and migration.
In those live talks, actor and activist Danny Glover emphasized on the importance of films made by refugees and migrants themselves (“They are able to tell their own story. They are not just bystanders in a much larger eurocentric story, but they are active in their own participation in their own rescue“). Honorary President of the festival F Murray Abraham added, “Film lets the world know what’s going on with refugees through their own eyes. It gives a human face to those people. They are people with families and lives and loves and passions and hopes and needs and fears, like the rest of us”.
The list of awards:
International Feature Film Competition
UNICEF International Short Film Competition
Best Short Film
Children of the Shore - Amelia Nanni (Belgium)
Ronaldo - Raşit Algül (Turkey)
Same Boat Short Film Competition
Best Short Film
There - Zeynep Köprülü (Turkey/France)
The Cracker Effect - Giuseppe Cacace, Alfredo Fiorillo (Italy)
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