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UNHCR Presents 17th Charity Refugee Film Festival

For World Refugee Day 2024

Movies 2024-06-21, 12:20am


UNHCR- 17th Charity Refugee Film Festival

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach Newswire - 20 June 2024 - On 14 June, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, will launch the 17th Charity Refugee Film Festival to Mark World Refugee Day 2024. This year's festival seeks to heighten public awareness of the refugee cause and galvanize collective efforts to address the global displacement crisis by showcasing the power of solidarity and durable solutions through film.

Furthermore, the UNHCR is pleased to announce its upcoming post-screening event on 30 June, where a special guest, former Hong Kong badminton player Yip Pui Yin, will be hosted. Yip Pui Yin has been invited to share her inspiring journey of hard work and training in preparation for past Olympic competitions. Yip will also offer invaluable insights into her emotional journey and personal reflections after watching the movie centered around the inspiring stories of refugee athletes.

World Refugee Day is the international observance designated by the United Nations to rally global support for refugees, to create a world where refugees are welcomed.

Over the past year, the scourge of war has enveloped the world. The war in Ukraine entered its third year, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the Middle East, millions are facing imminent famine in conflict-ravaged Sudan and so many more. These crises and others have forced more than 114 million people to flee their homes. Yet even after escaping from the frontlines of conflict and disaster, refugees face daunting challenges — finding safety in unfamiliar surroundings, healing emotional wounds, and rebuilding shattered lives.

Through stories like these, UNHCR aims for audiences to be inspired to extend support to forcibly displaced people, including integration into welcoming communities. This empowers refugees to become self-reliant and contributing members of society. By fostering unity and inclusion, the global community can work towards lasting solutions to the ongoing refugee crisis.

As such, this year's film festival features two films - The Old Oak and We Dare to Dream - to be screened at the Broadway Cinematheque and PALACE ifc. The films showcase how refugees persevere through hardship, forge community ties, and courageously overcome challenges with hope in their hearts.

All proceeds from the Charity Refugee Film Festival will be used to support the lifesaving work of UNHCR. Each ticket sold represents a direct contribution towards making a tangible difference in the lives of people forced to flee. A single ticket, for example, can provide two refugee or host community children with sports uniforms and equipment, allowing them to participate in sports activities with confidence, promoting unity and wellbeing.

“The Old Oak”

Acclaimed director Ken Loach, a two-time winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his films The Wind That Shakes the Barley and I, Daniel Blake, once again showcases his distinctive cinematic voice in The Old Oak. This heartwarming movie tells the story of TJ, a former labour movement leader who runs a pub called The Old Oak in a remote mining town in northeast England. The pub is a place of gathering and the last remaining public space for the local community.

However, a crisis soon unfolds. A group of displaced Syrian refugees arrive in the small town, triggering xenophobic sentiments among the local community and plunging the previously harmonious town into a state of tension and conflict. The compassionate TJ, while hearing the locals' harsh criticisms of the refugees, actively reaches out to help, assisting volunteer efforts to support the refugees and forging a deep friendship with a young Syrian woman named Yara. The division in the community leaves TJ torn, and he must find a way to bridge the divide and foster understanding and integration among the residents.

With his empathetic approach and warm narrative style, director Ken Loach passionately advocates for social solidarity and the rebuilding of trust among residents in the face of adversity.

“We Dare to Dream”

We Dare to Dream, directed by Waad Al-Kateab, tells the inspiring stories of a group of refugee athletes. Having endured harrowing journeys after being forced to flee their homelands, they now strive to fulfil their Olympic dreams. These young individuals hail from Iran, Syria, South Sudan and Cameroon. Displaced and adrift, they have fought tirelessly, swimming or running, until finding refuge in different host countries, where they continue to seek safety and a brighter tomorrow.

Despite the overwhelming hardships they face, the refugee athletes remain steadfast in pursuing their athletic ambitions. They compete at the Olympic Games, representing their countries and people. The film sensitively portrays their moving journeys of rebuilding their lives and training relentlessly in foreign lands, while grappling with the heavy sorrow of losing their homes and loved ones.

Through the real-life experiences of these refugee athletes, the documentary provides a profound exploration of the arduous struggles faced by refugees striving to survive. It also embodies the most admirable of human qualities: courage, resilience - and an unwavering belief in their ideals.

(UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We lead international action to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.)