Coinciding with World Refugee Day on June 20, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is putting on the third Refugee Film Festival from June 20 to 23 at Paragon Cineplex.
The festival will feature four films – two dramas and two documentaries – that tell the stories of hope, despair and resilience of refugees forced to flee their homes to escape persecution, wars and conflict.
Admission is free. Tickets can be reserved through the festival website and must be picked up 30 minutes before the screening. The choice of seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Here's the line-up:
- Pushing the Elephant – As civil war engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s, a mother and daughter were separated. The mother, Rose Mapendo, lost everything to the violence but emerged from the suffering to become an advocate for peace and reconciliation. After helping numerous victims rebuild their lives, she still had to be taught how to forgive, a lesson that would come from her daughter Nangabire.
- In a Better World – Susanne Bier directs this drama that won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark and his work in an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Critically well-received, In a Better World, also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
- Run for Life – Three Ethiopian long-distance runners emigrate to Europe to pursue their dreams, and land in a most unlikely place – Serbia. Directed by Mladen Matičević, this documentary was produced for NHK television in Japan.
- War Witch – Winner of the Silver Bear for best actress at last year's Berlin International Film Festival, Rachel Mwanza was an illiterate child living on the streets of Kinshasa when she was picked to star in this drama by Canadian director Kim Nguyen. She portrays Komona, a 14-year-old girl, who tells her unborn baby the story of how she became a child soldier in a rebel army. Mwanza also won best actress at New York's Tribeca fest. Much acclaimed, War Witch was a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at last year's Oscars.
For the full schedule, please see the festival website.