Penny Appeal’s Refugee film wins award at Mosquers Film Festival
The below opinion piece was written by Penny Appeal's Head of Production
It’s a bittersweet blog post. As a team, we worked extremely hard to produce a compelling short film that depicts the harsh realities of refugees who find themselves at death's doorstep in search of safety - though I wish we didn’t have to create such content.
Working for a charity organisation, you see first-hand the struggles and what often seems like an impossible fight against the ongoing plight that refugees continue to face. When their battle no longer makes the headlines and other news takes precedence, we’re still very much across their struggle working to do all we can to alleviate their pain - and as such we felt it was necessary to use creative means to educate, inform and move people to support those suffering at the hands of this injustice. ‘’No one puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’’ This line by poet Warsan Shire was the sentiment behind this production.
The short film that depicts the treacherous journey of a Syrian Refugee arriving on UK shores was given the name The Right, and pays reference to Article 14 of the Declaration of Human Rights that states: "Everyone has a right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." This is something that is often overlooked; the fact that seeking refuge is every person’s right is unfortunately not the narrative we are generally presented with.
We filmed this piece on Hornsea beach, which was populated with couples walking their dogs and friends enjoying the sunshine, many of whom would stop in their tracks to find out what was going on. The exchanges often turned into more lengthy conversations about the cause, and the fact that people didn’t know much about where they could offer their support. And so, the mission to raise awareness from this campaign started earlier than we had anticipated.
I think I can talk on behalf of both cast and crew when I say the filming of this piece was intense. Capturing the disturbing scene of a mother washed up onto the shore following the capsizing of the boat she was travelling on - and having her frantically search for her daughter who she believes to have lost her life along the way - was a heavy scene for everyone, knowing that this was a true representation of what many people endure. It was, however, a necessary experience.
According to Amnesty International, there are currently an estimated 25.9 million refugees around the world, the highest ever recorded - half of whom are children. Refugees are unfortunately treated with varying degrees of compassion, reflecting each country’s economic conditions, internal tensions, and foreign policy motives, but one thing we must never do is close our hearts or lose sight of the fundamental human response, or ignore the needs of some of the most desperate people around the world - regardless of whether they’re from Syria, Ukraine, Palestine or Afghanistan.
We are proud that this piece of content made it to the renowned Mosquers Film Festival, a competition which aims to build bridges through showcasing talent and the diverse Muslim experience. Though we pray we will one day no longer need to create such material, until then, our fight against injustice and inequality, and our support for those suffering at the hands of it, remains relentless.
You can support our appeal to help Syrian and other refugees via the links below:
WEDNESDAY 6 APR 2022