Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Filmaid's Refugee Film Capitals of Kenya

Ever since "Capote" producer Caroline Baron created Filmaid International from scratch during the Kosovo war, I have watched in amazement at the enormous amount the organization has been able to accomplish with very limited resources. From the beginning I found it startling, as well, that Hollywood, always so anxious to be seen to be doing good, failed to understand that its most valuable gift to refugees around the world would be to offer them some psychological escape from the relentless dreariness of life in the camps. These various clips from YouTube give an idea of what's been done in two camps in Kenya. Some are professionally produced, some are put together by the increasingly skilled refugee filmmakers themselves. But my favorite is this little 28-second cell-phone clip of children in Kakuma camp dancing for the sheer joy of it before an outdoor screening -- which most likely was "The Wizard of Oz."

The elegant official Filmaid trailer, explaining what it's all about:

The link to it is:

A compilation of brief segments from public service announcements produced by and for the refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma. Note that there is a very heavy emphasis on issues directly affecting women.

An interview with my good friend Caroline Baron, founder of Filmaid International.

"About Kakuma" was created by and for the Filmaid staff there to show what they're doing, and who's doing it.

A professionally produced overview of Filmaid activity in Kakuma.

Interviews with Kakuma film students.

Again, this is the link to that 28-second phone-movie clip of children dancing before a screening at Kakuma.

A "Kakuma Doggs" Filmaid film about an abandoned boy.

Another Kakuma Doggs Filmaid movie with performance and production in the hands of the students. This one is about conflict resolution when brothers turn against each other over who controls the family store in Kakuma after their father dies and the arguments become violent.

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