why you need to watch refuge: a film that documents the plight of handful of refugees in syria

This heart-wrenching film gives a voice to just a handful of the millions displaced due to ongoing conflict.

by Lynette Nylander
15 December 2016, 3:25pm

This year hasn't been easy, in fact it's hit pretty damn hard. We have had political shockers, our beloved entertainers and cultural icons pass away in their droves, a threat on our nightlife and crucial community and social funding cut.

But if you are reading this, chances are you have a home, you have light, heat, a bed to lay your head on at night and certain amount of security that makes your life bearable. Sadly this isn't the case for the people of Syria, whose ongoing suffering has created the biggest European refugee crisis since the Second World II. This doesn't go forgotten. #pray4aleppo has been a constant sight in our Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines as people express their sorrow and disgust at what's currently happening in the rebel-held Syrian city and marches around the world are being organised to protest the devastation.

While many want to help, not a lot of people know how; and conflicting news stories make it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Endeavouring to put "the human struggle" at the forefront of the conflict, the team behind Refuge, a 20-minute short film that chronicles the stories of 12 refugees (out of dozens who were interviewed, from everywhere from The Congo to Iraq). The film is centered around the refugees perspective, giving them a voice. From what they miss about their homelands, to how their world has been ripped apart from the devastation and how they envisage their future - the film was made in January of this year, in Greece, where tens of thousands of refugees are now stranded.

Each refugee was asked the simple questions, 'who are you?,' 'where are you coming from?,' and 'where do you plan to go?'

"The stories that unfurled were excruciating and at times unfathomable," comments one of makers of the film, Maximilian Guen. "You know, people think we were over dramatising the events, but this is what people are really going through." The aforementioned Guen and the rest of the Refuge team decided to combat this by being completely transparent, releasing all the testimonials in full online so people can know their complete story. After aligning with numerous charities and holding private screenings in London (at BAFTA), New York (at FIAF), in LA (at Anonymous Content) and Paris (at MK2), the film sees its release on Vimeo that can be seen below.

It makes for a challenging watch but as Max comments, "the most important thing is to spread the word. People are dying every single day in their thousands. We need to keep the discussion going as it is not over yet. Not even close."

To watch the full testimonials, find out more about Refuge and links to charities where you can donate, please visit refugeproject.co


Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Elliot Ross