Refugee Week 2019: London Premier of Ai Wei Wei’s ‘The Rest’

11 June 2019
Ffion Wyn Evans

Two London Premieres: One Mission to Shed Light on Refugee Journeys

Next week two headline documentaries telling the stories of refugees’ journeys will premiere in London. The first, created by Ai Weiwei, internationally renowned artist, hands the microphone to refugees to share their experience in The Rest. The Second, Midnight Traveler, is a personal story of a man, Hassan Fazili, and his family, told through footage captured on mobile phones. These two films have distinct approaches to the issues facing refugees, and both open a window on what life is like for many of our fellow human beings.

Next week is Refugee Week 2019, so there are events happening up and down the country to celebrate, acknowledge and reflect upon the lives and work of refugees and migrants. The Kensington and Chelsea Refugees Welcome Committee, a collective of local residents and volunteers in our West London borough, is collaborating with Ciné Lumière at the Institut Francais in South Kensington to bring two of the best documentaries of 2019 to our doorstep. A panel discussion featuring Migrants Organise CEO, Zrinka Bralo, to arm the audience with ideas to turn into actions of solidarity.

The Restis quite literally, made from the rest of the footage from Ai Weiwei’s first movie, Human Flow (2017), and also gives a platform to the rest: people who remain unable to rebuild their lives, stuck at boarders with no way forward or back. It shares stories from Greek and Italian camps to “The Jungle” of Calais. After the movie there will be a short panel discussion about the film and what it has evoked for the panel and audience, and what we can do in our community to make a positive impact on the world. Not only that, but we’ll have a personal message from the artist himself and some free ice cream, to finish it all off.

Then, on Thursday 20th June, there will be the second screening, this time of award-winning 2019 documentary Midnight Traveler. Hassan Fazili and Emelie Mahdavian collaborated to create the film from smart phone footage. It sets before you the journey of a young family fleeing Afghanistan, fearing for their safety, the father having spoken out against the Taliban. It’s a deeply moving tale.

The RBKC Refugees Welcome Committee formed in 2015 as a response to the global refugee crisis. The Committee is a group of residents who are united by a shared sense of humanitarianism and a desire to make their borough a more welcoming place for refugees. The group works alongside Migrants Organise to  support refugees in the area. They have been focused on finding housing in the area, to urgently resettle refugees. The Committee relies on properties made available by private residents and has to date helped two families from Syria resettle in its borough, as well as providing mentoring support to refugees living locally. The group is now hoping to raise vital awareness about the need for more housing through two Refugee Week film screenings.

Member of the RBKC Refugees Welcome Committee, Ed Latham said “it’s a privilege to be able to screen these poignant documentaries and hear people’s stories first hand. We’re organising these two London premieres to bring refugee voices to the forefront. We help to resettle people from refugee camps into our community. If by running these screenings we can find a private property owner to rent us their property, then we can bring a family to live here to rebuild their life in safety.”

The films will be followed by a discussion to inspire the audience with actions and ideas to show solidarity. Panelists include:  Zrinka Bralo (CEO Migrants Organise), Andrea Vukovic (Project Director at Asylum Matters & lead for Lift the Ban campaign), Clare Burnett (Sculptor, refugee rights community organiser & property owner supporting refugees in Kensington & Chelsea), Andrew Standen-Raz (Filmmaker, Journalist, campaigner for refugee & migrant issues. Chaired by Soledad Pinero Misa (refugee & migrants right activist)

Book Tickets here:

The Rest

Midnight Traveler 

If you live in Kensington and Chelsea and would like to show solidarity and welcome to refugees or would consider renting your property to house a refugee family please contact rbkcrefugeeswelcome@gmail.com 

 

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