Showing from 22-29 June, this programme features two short films focusing on Refugee Experiences. Tangle, the winner of our Human Rights award, is a beautiful animation about displacement through war and the threads that keep people connected, while Adnan imaginatively explores the Syrian refugee crisis from the perspective of a young boy with refugees in the leading roles.
This programme will include a Zoom discussion at 8.30pm on Thursday 25 June with Adnan directors Steven Chatterton and Mark Arrigo, actor Raghad Chaar, and Mohamed Omar, Policy and Development Officer for Scotland's Refugee programme at the Mental Health Foundation. Register for a place in the discussion here.
At a time when xenophobic attitudes have resurfaced in mainstream politics, it is more vital than ever to resist the reductive external framing of the refugee experience. Refugees face not only the threat of living in conflict zones and the danger of finding routes to safety but also the subsequent trauma from those experiences, along with hostility from people in their host countries. Even in communities where they are welcomed, the displacement, survivor's guilt and work that goes into integration are significant stressors that can last lifetimes.
Tangle, the recipient of this year's Human Rights award at SMHAF 2020, is a beautiful, evocative short animation from Iran. Maliheh Gholamzadeh uses thread as a simple symbol to represent the complexity of the emotional and physical binds to a home country under siege. There is no spoken dialogue, highlighting that the refugee experience transcends language and borders.
There are an estimated 13 million child refugees in the world. In their film Adnan, directors Steven Chatterton and Mark Arrigo show a different side to the refugee experience from the perspective of a young Syrian boy. Though ostensibly safe, Adnan's mother is traumatised from their journey, frozen and mute. Using the power of storytelling, Adnan desperately tries to save his mother from her inner torment, for all she has gone through to save his life.
Refugee Week took place from 15-21 June. To mark the week, Mohamed Omar wrote a Mental Health Foundation blog discussing the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on refugees lives in Scotland, which you can read here.