Programme

Document presents an online screening, masterclass and conversation series exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. 

In collaboration with Scottish Refugee Council, the series offers a platform for discussion and awareness-raising around issues relating to asylum, detention, healthcare, housing and welfare – as well as aspects of the complex relationship between the refugee experience and the moving image.

The series features:  

  • The free-to-access screening of Revenir (2018) and a masterclass with filmmakers David Fedele and Kumut Imesh (register here).
  • Live discussion with local activists, academics and artists including Pinar Aksu, Ako Zada and author and journalist Daniel Trilling (Lights in the Distance, Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe, 2018) – register here.
  • A film and resource playlist built around Scottish activist filmmaking, including work made by:
            • Asylum Seekers Housing Project (ASHP)
            • Camcorder Guerillas
            • Maryhill Integration Network
            • Chris McGill
            • Basharat Khan
            • Chris Leslie 
            • Myriam Rey
            • Plantation Productions

The programme is completely free to access via www.documentfilmfestival.org

Photo credit: Chris Leslie (2014)

Revenir (2018) was the winner of the international Jury Prize at Document 2018 and has screened widely at festivals and events around the world, including at the European Parliament.

The masterclass will be moderated by Noe Mendelle, Director of Scottish Documentary Institute, and will look at the unique and controversial collaboration that forms the basis of the film, as well as broader questions about agency, ethics, and representing the migrant experience on film.

Synopsis:

Part road-trip, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Revenir follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from the Ivory Coast now living in France, as he returns to the African continent and attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country … But this time with a camera in his hand.

Traveling alone, Kumut will be documenting his own journey; both as the main protagonist in front of the camera, as well as the person behind it, revealing the human struggle for freedom and dignity on one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world.

A controversial film experiment, a courageous journey and a unique collaboration between filmmaker and refugee; which is not without consequences.’

We hope this event inspires you to take action: consider donating to the Covid19 Refugee Support Fund.

Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI. 

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A View From Here / Norrie / Gilbert & Ash 1972 Gorbals Archive

A View from Here

AVFH is a multi-disciplinary arts and heritage project documenting the heritage of the high flats in two iconic districts of Glasgow and the shared and disparate experiences of asylum seekers, refugees and local Scots who lived there.

Many of Glasgow’s historic high Rise flats were demolished from 2015 onwards. What happens to the memories of people who live there?

The project follows two community groups who explore the heritage of high rise living and the experiences of asylum seekers, migrants and local Scots who live in and around these flats. The exploration culminated in a unique performance which combined performance, visual art and film to tell a powerful story of the people who live in these areas.

All films directed by Basharat Khan

Norrie

Norrie McNamee talks about his experiences of living and working in Gorbals. Using archive footage and photos from his own collection this short film reflects on the housing condition of Gorbals in the 1960’s and the experiences of local Scots, migrants and refugees who stayed in Norfolk Court Gorbals.

Gilbert & Ash 1972 Gorbals Archive Footage

Archive footage from 1972 which shows the constructions of High Rise flats around Laurieston and Gorbals with narration by Neil Freel.

Laurieston is a district in the Gorbals area of the Scottish city of Glasgow and It is situated south of the River Clyde. It derives its name from James Laurie who, along with his brother, developed a large part of the district in the early 19th century.

The original silent archive footage was filmed by the foreman of Gilbert & Ash who were building the new high rise flats in response to the slum housing condition of Glasgow of that time.The film was provided by Neil Freel who started working for Gilbert & Ash in 1972 and he provides a first hand insight into the heritage of high rise flats of Glasgow.

Info

Director: Basharat Khan

Year: 2014

Country: Scotland

Crypsis

After fleeing for his life, a gay refugee files for asylum in Scotland. Lacking evidence, he decides to photograph himself in the dark techno world of a queer underground scene. Based on accounts of real-life African LGBT refugees and the challenges they face during the asylum process, Crypsis is a raw depiction of a grim reality obscured by vitriolic public debate about refugees and the broken system that surrounds them.

Crypsis from Queer Content on Vimeo.

Christopher McGill, the director of the film, is a freelance filmmaker based in Glasgow. Christopher has experience working in television, directing commissioned short films and working within the community as a filmmaker and workshop facilitator. In 2013 Christopher worked as assistant director and producer on the short documentary ‘Untold Story’ which won best factual at the Student Royal Television Society awards.

Siobhan Fahey (Producer) works with communities that are under-represented in the arts especially: women, lesbians, people of colour, wider LGBTQ communities, working class people. She unearths lost histories, and uncover untold stories. She works with academics, artists, writers, theatre creators, filmmakers to use these stories and histories to create accessible culture that takes these stories to a wider audience. In 2018 the film she co-produced MY LONELINESS IS KILLING ME was awarded a BAFTA Scotland (Best Short). She has a feature film REBEL DYKES in post-production.

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If you liked this film and want to support LGBT communities and asylum seekers, consider donating to

LGBT UNITY GLASGOW
Sort Code: 80-20-60
Account Number: 10017368

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Christopher McGill

Year: 2020

Country: Scotland

Running Time: 9:02

EVENT POSTPONED: Revenir – Masterclass with David Fedele & Kumut Imesh

EVENTS POSTPONED: Due to the hearbreaking situation in central Glasgow this afternoon we’ve decided to postpone our live events this weekend.

We remain committed to having these important conversations with you all in the near future.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who have tragically lost their lives, and everybody affected by this

 

Join us for a masterclass with the makers of Revenir, David Fedele and Kumut Imesh.

The masterclass will look at the unique and controversial creative collaboration that forms the basis of the film, as well as broader questions about agency, ethics, and representing the migrant experience on film.

We present this masterclass in collaboration with Scottish Documentary Institute, and the session will be moderated by SDI Director, Noe Mendelle.

Book a free ticket to join us on Zoom or watch the livestream on Facebook.

Film Synopsis:

Part road-trip, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Revenir follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from the Ivory Coast now living in France, as he returns to the African continent and attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country … But this time with a camera in his hand.

Traveling alone, Kumut will be documenting his own journey; both as the main protagonist in front of the camera, as well as the person behind it, revealing the human struggle for freedom and dignity on one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world.

A controversial film experiment, a courageous journey and a unique collaboration between filmmaker and refugee; which is not without consequences.’

Info

Event: Masterclass

Date: Saturday 27 June

Time: 1.30pm

Running Time: 75:00

Only My Voice

In transit through Athens, four women from the Middle East share their stories. They all left their countries at different times in their life and for different reasons. In this ode to freedom, their stories of up-rootedness will gradually echo each other; resonating, contradicting and interacting with the city of Athens.

Watch in full here:

Myriam Rey won the Inspiration award in 2015 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council film awards in London for her first short documentary called This island’s mine. She then filmed and directed a short film for the Institute of Neuroscience in London funded by the University College London in 2016. Her most recent documentary, Only my voice, was selected for the Bridging the Gap scheme organised by the Scottish Documentary Institute. This film was funded by Creative England and produced by Banyak Films. It premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2017 and won awards at Sunderland International Film Festival and Nova Frontier Film Festival.

Read an interview with the director here.

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If you liked this film and want to support migrant women, consider donating to Women for Refugee Women.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Myriam Rey

Year: 2017

Country: United Kingdom

Running Time: 11:27

RESCHEDULED: Locked Out | Refuge and Asylum Roundtable Discussion

EVENT RESCHEDULED: New dates announced for our live events! Join us on Friday. 17 July, from 5.30pm for the live event on Zoom and Facebook live.

A roundtable discussion with Scotland-based community organisations and activists, discussing some of the most pressing issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers under lockdown.

We’ll talk particularly about housing, as well as access to healthcare and welfare, and address some of the underlying structural conditions exacerbated by the current situation. We’ll also look to touch on media representation of migration, the ever-present threat from the far-right, and the wider border politics that have shaped migration discourses across Europe.

Register here to join us via Zoom or watch the livestream on Facebook.

Speakers include Pinar Aksu, Ako Zada, Graham O’Neill and Daniel Trilling – and will be moderated by Professor Alison Phipps.

Bios:

Pinar Aksu is an activist and a Development Officer at Maryhill Integration Network, a charity bringing refugee, migrant and local communities together through art, social and educational groups. Pinar has been campaigning to raise awareness of the issue’s asylum seekers and refugees face and is involved with anti-racism movements.

Pinar is also working with Active Inquiry in Edinburgh, creating theatre with and for the community and World Spirit Theatre in Glasgow, creating theatre that explores integration and migration from the perspective of those experiencing it directly, and have performed all over the UK. She is also in the management committee of Right to Remain.

Why Detention Centres Should be Shut Down – Pinar’s blog post for Scottish Refugee Council.

Allow Wealth of Talent Among Refugees and Asylum Seekers Flourish – Pinar’s article from The Scotsman about integration, right to work and right to vote.

Ako Zada is a journalist, activist, and director of Community Infosource, a human rights charity working with community groups in Glasgow. He came to Glasgow seeking refuge from Kurdistan in 2011, and since arriving has been involved in a number of projects: as a researcher and participant in Living Well; being a book in the Human Library Book projects; as a student mentor in City of Glasgow college; involvement in the Curious Project in St Mungo’s Museum, and acting in different performances about refugee life and multiculturalism in Glasgow.

Ako is an active member of the campaign against the eviction of destitute asylum seekers from their accommodation, and is currently a member of SASRA (Scottish Asylum Seekers’ Residents’ Association); the National Union of Journalists; the International Welcome Club and the Scottish Kurdish Society.

Now they speak, you listen – Ako’s recent work cited in a Bella Caledonia article by Jenny Tsilivakou

Daniel Trilling is a journalist, an author, and an educator. He has written extensively about about migration, nationalism and human rights – regularly contributing to the Guardian, The New Statesman and the London Review of Books, as well as being Editor of New Humanist. He also teaches Creative Storytelling – a course on long-form journalism for second-year undergraduates on the BA (Hons) Journalism course at London College of Communication.

Daniel is author of two books; Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe (Picador, 2018), based on five years of reporting on refugees in Europe, and Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (Verso, 2012), which was nominated for the 2013 Orwell Prize.

The mistreatment of Roma and homeless people during COVID-19 lockdownEurozine, May 2020

How the media contributed to the migrant crisis – Guardian Long Read, August 2019

You can read an extract from Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe on the GRAMNet blog.

Graham O’Neill works as Policy Officer at the Scottish Refugee Council. His previous experience includes working at the Commission for Racial Equality in London, or the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, or advocating for effective anti-slavery in Scotland and beyond.

The campaign against the Serco lock-out is in the best internationalist traditions of Glasgow.

Alison Phipps holds the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow where she is also Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She is based in School of Education at the University of Glasgow where she teaches refugee studies, critical multilingual studies, religious and spiritual education, anthropology and intercultural education and education for non-violence.

Info

Event: Roundtable Discussion

Date: Friday 17 July

Time: 5.30pm

Revenir

Part road-trip, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Revenir follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from the Ivory Coast now living in France, as he returns to the African continent and attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country … But this time with a camera in his hand.

Traveling alone, Kumut will be documenting his own journey; both as the main protagonist in front of the camera, as well as the person behind it, revealing the human struggle for freedom and dignity on one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world.

A controversial film experiment, a courageous journey and a unique collaboration between filmmaker and refugee; which is not without consequences.’

Watch the film in full:

… and join us at 1:30pm, Sat 27 Jun, for a livestream masterclass with filmmakers David Fedele & Kumut Imesh – moderated by Noe Mendelle, Director of Scottish Documentary Institute.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: David Fedele & Kumut Imesh

Year: 2018

Country: North Africa, France, Australia

Date: Monday 22 June

Running Time: 1:17:01

Right to Work – MIN Voices

Listen to the real life stories from members of Maryhill Integration Network’s ‘MIN Voices’ Group – it’s time to Lift the Ban and give right to work for people seeking asylum. We also present to you the facts and figures around the impact that lifting this ban would have. Please join us in campaigning for an end to banning asylum seekers from working in the UK. Sign the petition here.

MIN Voices is a group for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who wish to have their voices heard. The group acts as a participatory platform through which members can share information, be creative, campaign, access training and volunteering opportunities.

Pinar Aksu will participate in the Locked Out | Refuge and Asylum Roundtable Discussion.

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If you want to support Maryhill Integration Network and their work with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, consider donating here.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Maryhill Integration Network

Year: 2019

Country: Scotland

Running Time: 5:26

Room for Improvement

A film made collaboratively by women from the Asylum Seeker Housing Project (ASH) and Camcorder Guerillas.

Camcorder Guerrillas is a Glasgow community-based, voluntary collective of professional filmmakers, artists and activists, working together to make and showcase documentaries for those concerned with human rights, welfare and social justice initiatives.

Community InfoSource has developed the Asylum Seeker Housing Project to help asylum seekers in Scotland report housing repairs and issues. We also help follow up with them when repairs are not completed, or have not been done properly.

The Asylum Seeker Housing Project was set up to make a real difference to the housing situation of people supported by the Home Office accommodation and support contract in Scotland and to carry out housing research on these issues. Alongside the ASH Project, Women Asylum Seeker Housing Project was also developed. ​Together they are called W-ASH.

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Join the campaign to #StopLockChangeEvictions.

If you are in Glasgow, join the No Evictions Network, a grassroots campaign formed to fight evictions from asylum accommodation, with organised neighbourhood teams and regular actions (Find out more on the Scottish Refugee Council website).

You can also consider donating to Community InfoSource to support their work with asylum seekers in several key areas such as: travel for destitute asylum seekers, interpreting expenses or childcare costs.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Asylum Seeker Housing Project & Camcorder Guerillas.

Year: 2017

Country: Scotland

Running Time: 19:20

The Bird Man of Red Road

The Bird Man of Red Road 

Built in 1967, the Red Road flats in Glasgow were once home to over 4500 people. Now most of the blocks have been emptied and demolition has already begun. Jamal Hamad, a failed Iraqi Kurdish asylum seeker, has lived alone in one block for several months. The demolition company are keen to move on with the demolition preparation but Jamal is refusing to move. If he does move out, he fears eviction from the UK- and if he returns to his homeland, as instructed by the UK Border Agency, he believes he will be killed- just like his parents and brothers several years ago. Living in the block alone is dangerous; but Jamal sees no other choice.

WINNER OF A SRC MEDIA AWARD FOR BROADCAST CATEGORY – 2014

Disappearing Glasgow

Glasgow-based filmmaker and photographer, Chris Leslie, documented the demolition of Glasgow’s high rises in many forms as part of the 8-year multimedia project, Disappearing Glasgow.

The project was prompted, in part, as a response to the Commonwealth games coming to Glasgow in 2014, and the proposed regeneration of the city. It ended up as a passionate, nuanced critique of the drivers of civic regeneration, an archiving of under-represented heritage, and a polyphonic portrait of people and communities dispersed in the wake of urban change.

Further resources:

  • Chris Leslie artist website
  • Disappearing Glasgow project website (photos, film and essays)
  • Illustrated talk by Chris, part of BRUT EUROPE – Exploring the lasting legacy of European Modernist architecture through talks, screenings and workshops.
  • British Council interview with Chris about Disappearing Glasgow
  • Guardian article, ‘Disappearing Glasgow: Documenting the demolition of a cities troubled past’
  • Book review of Disappearing Glasgow in Bella Caledonia

Info

Director: Chris Leslie

Year: 2014

Country: Scotland

Running Time: 8:39

Under the Jasmine Tree

Under the Jasmine Tree is an animation created by Saint Fillan’s Primary School pupils, based on an original poem written by Glasgow-based Syrian poet, Saffanna.

Pupils collaborated with Maryhill Integration Network and Media Co-op

A huge thanks to teacher Monica and St Fillans Primary School pupils, Mediaco-op, and to volunteer/teacher/poet Saffanna and Development Officer Pinar for all their hard work on this wonderful project.

Launched as part of Scottish Refugee Council’s Refugee Festival Scotland 2019 Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland’s Awards for All.

Pinar Aksu will participate in the Locked Out | Refuge and Asylum Roundtable Discussion.

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If you want to support Maryhill Integration Network and their work with refugees and asylum seekers, consider donating here.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Maryhill Integration Network & Media Co-op

Year: 2019

Running Time: 2:53

We Journey Together

We Journey Together represents the stories of four people going through the asylum process in the
United Kingdom.

This creative short film was co-created with participants from the Govan Community Project, who wanted to dispel the misconceptions and show the reality and obstacles faced by those going through the asylum process in the UK.

Watch the film in full here:

Moya Crowley is the founding member and Director of Plantation Productions, an arts and media charity based in Govan, Glasgow. Moya has over 17 years experience of developing participatory
co-creative media projects with artists, filmmakers and the local community. Moya has a Masters in Creative Media Practice from the University of the West of Scotland and continues to progress her professional development.

Christopher McGill is a freelance Filmmaker and Director based in Glasgow. Chris has over 6 years experience in video production and has worked in the Television industry. In 2010 Christopher graduated with an honours degree in Time Based Art & Digital Filmmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee. Since then he has continued to create commissioned short films, documentaries and online content.

Plantation Productions is an arts & media charity, embedded in the Govan community in Glasgow. Plantation manages the Making Art Matter Programme, delivering participatory arts activity and events across the South West of Glasgow. Working in partnership with local services, organisations and community groups the programme engages with vulnerable adults, children & young people to improve opportunities and conditions for people and families who reside in areas of multiple deprivations. The Making Art Matter programme is designed to be inclusive and accessible, using the arts and media as a tool for social and physical regeneration.

Govan Community Project (Scottish Charity No: SC042012) is a community-based organisation working in south west Glasgow. GCP provides direct services such as weekly drop-ins, advice, information and advocacy, cultural events, a community flat, English classes, destitution food project, hate-crime reporting and an interpreting service. In addition the network facilitates forums bringing together public, voluntary and community organisations with local people to help plan public services, promote equal rights and opportunities and cross-cultural understanding, and to build bonds and links within and between communities.

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If you liked this film and want to support these organisations, consider donating to Govan Community Project or to the Covid-19 Refugee Support Fund.

Info

Event: Online screening

Director: Moya Crowley & Christopher McGill

Year: 2017

Country: Scotland

Running Time: 08:57