SHORTS 2017

Dead End 

DEAD END

2015, 8.36mins

Libya’s political chaos makes its territory a land of opportunity for human smugglers. 

Thousands of illegal migrants end up forgotten, in one of the 19 detention centres.



POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. How does the film’s title echo the experience of incarcerated Eritrean refugees?

2. This prison is better than dying in Eritrea”; how does first-person narrative convey the urgency of fleeing one’s home-country in order to survive?

3. How does the filmmaker capture the personal narratives of forced displacement on camera? What filming techniques does he use?

4. How is the difference between ‘surviving’ and ‘living’ communicated in the film?



RESOURCES

Libyan Stories, Scottish Documentary Institute

Libya in Motion, Scottish Documentary Institute

SHORTS 2017

ELLIS

ELLIS

2015, 15mins

ELLIS awakens our collective memory, taking you back to the early years of Ellis Island through the experience of one immigrant. Set in the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex and using JR’s UNFRAMED art installations, ELLIS tells the forgotten story of the immigrants who built America. It is the story of the ghosts of our countries past, the individuals who fled poverty, discrimination, and dictatorships, for a chance at a new life and eerily foreshadows the plight of those who currently seek the same opportunities and safety in this country and other parts of the world.


The short narrative film stars Academy Award Winner Robert De Niro, is written by Academy Award winner Eric Roth, and is directed by the artist JR.


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. Do you think the ‘American Dream’ as described in the film, is it still the same dream today?

2. Ellis Island stood as a symbol for immigration in the early 20th century. Can you think of any places that symbolise immigration today?

3. Which room from JR’s installation in the hospital do you remember the most?

4. “They made it. They were at last home.” How have public views on immigration changed today in relation to notions of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’?


RESOURCES

Festival Spotlight: JR’s “Ellis”, New York Times article

Robert De Niro Stars in JR Film Shot in Crumbling Ellis Island Art Installation, artnet news article

SHORTS 2017

HOME

HOME

2016, 20mins

A family, led by their confident and caring father (Jack O’Connell), heads out on what appears to be a holiday. However it slowly becomes clear that they are in fact leaving the security and safety of a leafy suburb to cross Europe and make their way into the middle of a war zone. As they travel the father’s reassurances ring hollow as under great stress the father buckles and the mother’s (Holliday Grainger) strength takes over. Intimate and touching the film reaches for a truth through its absurd premise of reversing the refugee journey.


HOME depicts the breakdown and rebuilding of trust and love amid the horrors of war and migration. We witness the realities and trauma of being refugees as within the family, roles of leadership and bravery are passed from one parent to another.


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. How does the filmmaker accomplish a re-humanisation of the refugee experience by showing the precarity of a family’s life and its sudden descent into forced exile?

2. Director Daniel Mulloy described his film as an attempt to provoke an emotional response to a larger humanitarian crisis. Do you think this is achieved through the film?

3. HOME is also a film about survival and human resilience. How does the film challenge binary stereotypes of refugees as either ‘victims’ or ‘threats’?

4. Why do you think Mulloy chose to have a family – reflecting a traditional notion of safety, home and security – experiencing forced displacement.


AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

Best Short Film, BAFTA Film Award, 2017

Clermont- Ferrand International Short Film Festival, 2017

Dresden Film Festival, Audience Award, 2017

24fps International Short Festival, 2016

Best European Short Film Festival, 2016

Capalbio Cinema, International Jury Award, 2016

European Film Awards, European Short Film Nomination, 2016


RESOURCES

Home, Short of the week article

Film press kit resources

Kosovo-Shot Refugee Film Wins British Award, Balkan Insight article


SHORTS 2017

KARELIAN COWGIRLS

KARELIAN COWGIRLS

2018, 10.20mins

In 1939, at the start of the bitterly cold Winter War the Soviet Red Army invaded Finnish-Karelia forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians deep into Finland. With men at war front and women looking after the small children, the responsibility of driving the family cattle through deep snow and hostile lands was forced upon the oldest girls. A lifetime later, Annikki, Inkeri and Hilkka look back on their adventures on a journey that coincided with their journey to adulthood – and the effect the war had on their lives.


AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Hidden Door Festival – Edinburgh 2010

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Parvin Etesami Women Film Festival, Teheran, 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Oulu FF (Finland) 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Vancouver FF 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Dokubazaar 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – I’ve Seen Films FF 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Dawson City Short FF 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – London Short Film Festival 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – LIDF, 2009

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Vancouver Film Festival, 2009 (Canada)

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Tampere Film Festival, 2009 (Finland)

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Tromsø International Film Festival, 2009 (Norway)

OFFICIAL SELECTION – LIDF, 2009 (UK)

NOMINATION- Best Short Documentary Film Award – Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2008 (UK)


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. What role does first person narrative play?

2. How does the director convey the feelings of fear and uncertainty experienced by the protagonists through the film’s visual language?

3. “I got a written order, just like the soldiers. If you didn’t comply, you’d be court-martialled.” What do the speaker’s words reveal in relation to their experiences of the Soviet Red Army’s invasion?

4. Why do you think the filmmaker chose to position the speakers’ narratives of the homes they left behind within the space of a new home?


RESOURCES

Karelian Cowgirls – the best short, Geist blog piece

SHORTS 2017

ONE PRECIOUS THING

ONCE PRECIOUS THING

2015, 5mins

Murad fled from Syria in 2012 because of the war that befell his city, Ras al-Ain. He was forced to leave his studies of civil engineering and take refuge in the city of Mardin, which lies on the Turkish-Syrian border. He saw nothing in front of him but a land full of ears of wheat. He became a simple farmer, leaving behind his dreams of engineering and his hopes of a decent life in his hometown.


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. What makes the narrator’s personal object special? What does it represent?

2, How does the radio presenter’s voice support the film’s narrative in emphasising the need to flee for one’s life?

3. How does the short film communicate the state of ‘limbo’ experienced by the protagonist in relation to his personal development journey?

4. The image of a broken wheat spike is shown twice throughout the film. Why do you think that is?


RESOURCES

Moving Worlds Resource Page for ONE PRECIOUS THING

Storytelling in times of war, Highlight Arts

Syrian Mobile Film Festival – One Precious Thing

Syria Mobile Film Festival

SHORTS 2017

THE ARCHITECT

THE ARCHITECT

2015, 4.55mins

A beautiful short film, THE ARCHITECT invites us into the life of a young boy living in the city of Aleppo in Syria, witnessing the effect of war on his home-town. He rebuilds his city as a modern place, where he wishes to live and maps his dream for the future.


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. The young architect witnesses his town being destroyed, how do you think that makes him feel?

2. How is the second city model different to the first one? Why do you think that is? What has changed in the way the young boy sees and re-imagines his home city?

3. Imagine if you were rebuilding your city – what would you change and why? What would you keep the same?4. What makes your home-town special to you? How do you feel in your own house, is it a safe space? How might such an experience be different for the young architect and why?


RESOURCES

Moving Worlds Resource Page for THE ARCHITECT

BBC Article 

Syrian Mobile Film Festival, The Guardian

SHORTS 2017

TWINNING TOWNS

TWINNING TOWNS

2015, 3.24mins

Born in Basra, living in Warrington, Hussein Ahmed is on a mission: can he persuade the people and council of his local town to twin themselves with the war torn city of his birth?


POST-SCREENING CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

1. What is the film seeking to show through this process of similar comparison?

2. ‘Make thousands of friends but not one enemy’, how does this phrase capture the narrator’s vision of a friendly and diverse community?

3. How does the ‘Twinning Towns’ initiative serve as a metaphor of a more complex global reality?

4. What is the significance of the song rehearsed collaboratively? What does the singing symbolise in terms of engaging with different cultures?