Three short documentary films explore the challenges & successes of three refugees trying to survive and restart their lives in Europe.

About This Project

The primary aim of this campaign is to fund three mini-documentary films (each 10-15 minutes in length) exploring the lives of three refugees from the Middle East who seek to succeed and adapt to their new lives in Europe.

It’s all been told already–the war, the horrible crimes against humanity, and the refugee crisis that now engulfs Europe. But where are the stories of those who are striving to succeed and adapt and rebuild their lives from scratch? I want to see more of those.

These are the stories I want to tell and I need your help.

The Three Films

The first film in French is about Ramman, a Syrian refugee (in the video above), who now lives in Bordeaux, France. Ramman lived the Syrian Civil War in its purest form. After escaping Aleppo onto Kobani and finally making it to Turkey by himself, it wasn’t long before in 2014 that he was able to travel to Paris to reunite with his family. Ever since Ramman has been quite busy. He moved to Lyon in southern France, waking up every day trying to learn French and get accepted into a university to study architecture. “Maybe one day I will be able to return to Syria and rebuild my country,” he says.

The second film in Arabic is about Hakim, an Iraqi gay belly dancer whose family tried to murder him when they found out about his sexuality. He escaped Iraq onto Turkey and went on a boat to Chios, a Greek island not far in the Mediterranean. He was recently granted refugee status and moved to Athens, where he hopes to start rebuilding his new life with is boyfriend. Due to the sensitive nature of his story and for his safety, Hakim has preferred the use of a pseudonym instead of his real name and has opted on not showing his face. But he has been more than willing to tell us his story–and some dance moves!

The third film in English is about Saeed, a refugee from Iran who is an aspiring singer. After being imprisoned many times over the years for playing and singing the music he loved, he decided to escape Iran to find a place where he can be free to pursue his talent and his lyrics. Saeed will tell us about life as a singer and his daily struggle to survive in Greece. (His voice is incredibly beautiful).

How Far Into The Project Am I?

The first two films have already been shot on a Sony A7Sii. The one about Ramman is in the post-production stage fully edited and ready for color correction/color grading, sound design, and animation.

The second one about Hakim is in the editing stage, and will also need color correction/color grading, sound design, and animation. In addition, I will need to hire an Arabic assistant video editor to help me edit this film, which was shot in Arabic with the help of an on-site translator.

The third one is in the production stage and will be shot in Athens.

Why These Funds Are Important?

My primary goal as a filmmaker and a storyteller is to tell stories that I believe need to be heard and that are not simply important, but unique. I have spent the past year working with refugee aid organizations in France and at the refugee camps in Greece. The business of “guerrilla filmmaking” is tough, particularly since I work alone. But the time has come for me to collaborate with other professionals who can help me materialize these projects.

As much as I want to multiply myself into ten people, I can’t. In order for me to deliver at the speed and the quality that these films deserve, I need the help of other professionals. Once edited, the films still need a professional color correction editor to bring the film to life with colors that will look good not just on your iPhone, but your desktop, and your tablet. They will also need a professional sound designer that will make the film sound amazing on the tiny screen or on the big screen. One of them is in Arabic and I will need a translator who can be my assistant video editor. And as if making films wasn’t work enough, I will need animators and graphic designers to add richness to these beautiful stories with captivating visuals–an add-on layer that will help me fill the gaps that simply can’t be told with straight-up video.

What Happens Afterwards?

Once finalized, these films will not only be uploaded on Vimeo, but they will be sent to documentary film festivals in and outside of the U.S. They will also be shown by organizations such as the International Organization for Migration, among other refugee aid bodies who will share and disseminate within their social media networks. If fully funded, these films will also help me kickstart other projects I have in mind–such as a multimedia poetry book about the refugee crisis, which I am currently working on.

Who Am I?

I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Film. I spent the last five years interning for different newspapers and magazines. In 2016 I worked as communications officer and multimedia video producer at the American Association for the Advancement in Washington D.C. In 2017 I decided to move to France and travel across Europe to experience first hand the refugee crisis. Eventually I moved to the island of Chios in Greece to work as a volunteer at the Souda Refugee Camp.

Please contact me via email for an interview or questions about my Kickstarter campaign.