The panel was part of this CineGouna Bridge, the festival’s collection of talks that bring together Arab and global filmmakers to exchange opinions and experiences on various facets of society, and also how these topics relate to theatre.
In the last few decades, quite a few movies portraying the battle of refugees and asylum seekers are produced, a lot of which have been critically acclaimed. The El Gouna’s panel of Refugee Voices In Film places into perspective the value of those movies, realizing why today is the time for a shift in their narratives.
Based on Shaden Khallaf, a panelist and UNHCR senior policy adviser, although the Middle East and North Africa simply account for 5 percent of the worldwide population, the area hosts 40 percent of the world’s refugees.
Khallaf highlights that it is up to taxpayers — rather than just businesses — to be conscious and respond to refugee emergencies in regular life. That is the reason why an element as omnipresent as the theatre has a vital part.
“[Pictures are] a vitally important channel where we could share this frequent humanity and improve acceptance and tolerance among individuals, throughout the world.”
Daniela Cicchella, that also works for UNHCR, is just another part of this panel.
“The change was supposed to speak about these, but to them,” she clarifies.
“There’s a great deal of communicating around but the hope of advice is vital when the [refugee] community speaks to itself via these improved forms of dialog that is possibly the best communicating,” she informs Euronews.
With a number of the job’s testimonies being adapted into video structure, Cicchella clarifies that close collaboration between filmmakers and displaced communities might have a long-term effect.
“Ideally, if there’s a rise in attention from the filmmaking industry concerning the material of refugees, not just regarding the refugees however with that the refugees to discuss their issues and their resilience and chances maybe there’s a possibility of change,” she states.
Through the conversation, members of this panel identified that between more refugees from the practice of filmmaking is crucial to supply more real narratives and prevent over-dramatization.
By Thuraya Ismail, social and humanitarian work pro, theater audiences are tired of being”emotionally blackmailed” by disturbing stories regarding refugees. She thinks their story in the movie should also concentrate on demonstrating the positive effect they have in their communities, so be it economically or socially.
At precisely the same line of thought, actress and manufacturer Saba Mubarak guarantees that if movies do not treat the refugee story with the ideal strategy, the audience finishes with a negative feeling.
Mubarak starred and co-produced The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul (2017), in which the huge majority of crew and cast have been refugees, and the narrative is based on facts.
Throughout the pre-production stage of the movie, Mubarak tried sleeping in the streets and also spent 500 hours gathering tales from refugee camps in Turkey.
“Regardless of how much we try, we could not place ourselves into their shoes,” she states.
Film manager Amr Salama also highlights the importance of credibility in these types of movies and the way displaced individuals should be given the chance and encouragement to voice their adventures in movies.
“We see these pictures about refugees accomplished by foreigners, obviously most of them have great intentions, but they still feel as though charity movies,” he adds. “We will need to enable individuals from this area to inform their own stories”
For example, he cites a series of movies created by Imperial directors who have amazed theater specialists, for example, Hany Abu-Assad, that headed Omar (2013) and Paradise Now (2005), and Talal Derki, manager of Fathers and Sons (2017).
“We have seen how they are represented in Cannes, at the Oscars, at the Golden Globes,” says Salama. “They did not address the planet, they did not fix the refugee catastrophe around the planet but they made a shift.”
What’s now the perfect time for a change?
By filmmaker Amin Dora, now’s an integral time for refugees to talk and offset the negative stereotype that their status could take.
Dora considers that with the beginning of the worldwide refugee crisis, stories found in the media largely portrayed hardship. But with time, ” he states many managed to incorporate and contribute to their new community – and that is when filmmakers have a fresh angle to explore.
“We should now begin referring to their accomplishments, about the way they coped with their position, moving away and creating stories that are successful,” he informs Euronews.
This notion isn’t just to provide movie audiences a new outlook but also to give the refugee community the new beginning they require.
“[We need to ] take these and make them of the ideal case for the remaining refugees so that they may be motivated or they appear and they stop seeing themselves as a stunning subject all of the time.”