Harrogate College hosts film festival showcasing the stories of refugees and asylum seekers

22 June, 2022 11:28 am

Established in 1988, Refugee Week is a UK festival that takes place between 20-26 June. It is a festival that combats the negative stigma of refugees and asylum seekers and celebrates their resilience and contributions to society. It is a chance to understand the challenges they face when seeking sanctuary and to help create a supportive community where they can live safely. 

This year, the theme for Refugee Week is ‘Healing’

With everything going on in the world, now is a time where we can come together and help each other heal. 

Harrogate College strives to create a safe space where people can heal and rebuild their lives in a welcoming community with mutual care and respect. Recently, we became the first college in the district to achieve College of Sanctuary status. This award goes to colleges that go above and beyond to support refugees and those seeking asylum.

The college was recognised for its values-led approach and for being an inclusive, nurturing and progressive educational institution. 

Refugee Film Festival

During this year’s Refugee Week, Harrogate College is hosting a Refugee Film Festival, with short films, guest speakers and local filmmakers to share stories of asylum seekers and refugees in Yorkshire.

This event aims to educate our students, staff and wider community about the challenges of those seeking sanctuary and provides a safe space for open dialogue and reflection. 

This event also welcomes community groups and partners that work locally to improve the lives of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. 

Organisations such as Oxfam and Harrogate District of Sanctuary will be there on the night to speak to people and share information. There will also be community stalls and student displays.

Featured Films

‘Rabea’ – Tom Harmer

As a Rohingya Muslim and refugee from Myanmar, sixteen-year-old Rabea Sultana understands the power of her story and the value of her freedom. The opportunity she received of UK citizenship and a new life in Bradford is one she intends to use through her voice for the benefit of all humanity.

‘Then I Came By Boat’ – Marleena Forward 

This short documentary tells the story of Tri Nguyen’s childhood escape from war-torn Vietnam and his eventual resettlement in Australia.

‘A Life On Hold’ – Marc Silver, Nick Francis

A Life On Hold is an intimate portrait of Omar, a 17 year old stranded in a refugee camp since the 2011 war in Libya. It offers a unique perspective of one person amongst thousands waiting for a chance to start their life again in a safe country.

‘What You Know About Patience’ – Kazzum Arts 

‘What you know about patience?’ shares the complexities and challenges facing young people seeking asylum in the UK. The animation has been inspired by the experiences of young people engaging in Kazzum Arts’ Pathways programme (kazzum.org/pathways).

‘Malak And The Boat’ – André Holzmeister 

Malak and the Boat tells seven-year-old Malak’s harrowing story of her journey across the Mediterranean seeking shelter from the Syrian conflict.

‘Ruth & Safiya’ – Louisa Rose Mackleston 

Ruth & Safiya is a story about friendships in unlikely places, challenging stereotypes, and the power of community. Ruth, an isolated pensioner, meets Safiya, a teenage Syrian refugee who is haunted by the life she fled from. Filmed on location in Skipton, the story is set in an allotment, showing the power of the earth and nature in creating a bond that transcends age, race and nationality.

‘Guardians’ – Children’s Society

A Youth-led Commission on Separated Children (YLCSC), a group of young people previously supported by The Children’s Society. They have come together through shared experiences of the asylum process and the vision that all separated children in England and Wales should be supported by a legal guardian.

‘Rain Is Beautiful’ – Marc Silver, Nick Francis

This follow-up to A Life On Hold begins with emotional farewells at a refugee camp as Omar leaves his friends behind to begin a new life in Sweden. 

Guest Speakers 

There will be guest speakers throughout the evening.

Local historian, Dr. Paul Jennings, talks on how migration has shaped the Harrogate area throughout history.

Harrogate District of Sanctuary will also be there with a stall. The Harrogate District of Sanctuary is a charity that aims to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for refugees and asylum seekers in the district. 

How you can support 

There are many ways that we can show support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. This could be by volunteering at a local charity, donating clothes or even raising money. 

Take a look here at 5 local, regional and national charities and organisations that you can support. 
Refugee Week has highlighted some simple acts that we can do to stand with refugees and help them heal.