What does home mean when you have been forced out of your native land and are now considered a refugee? Twelve Georgia State media students collaborated with Burmese Rohingya, Karen and Kurdish community members, including students and alumni of Georgia State’s Perimeter College to find out. The answers became the program, “Defining Home: A Night of Migration Films and Conversations,” which which premiered Sunday, May 5, 6-9:30 p.m., at the Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Ave., Clarkston.
The idea for the project came about when Dr. Mary Helen O’Connor, director of Georgia State’s Center for Community Engagement, and Niklas Vollmer, a film professor on the Atlanta Campus, partnered to create a project embedding film students from his Community-based Media Class with Clarkston community members interested in collaborating on a film project. The project’s theme was, “getting to know each other through collaboration and radical inclusion with cameras—making friends! Collective and subject-participatory grass-roots action, which is perfectly aligned with the goals of the Better Bureau’s Bridge Building Project.
The event was run as a benefit with proceeds being split between two groups, the Clarkston Community Center, and a brand new, Rohingya Community Center in the area. Because we at Better Bureau were too late to underwrite the films’ production costs, we made a donation of $1,000 in the name of the GSU Filmmakers, allowing them to double their benefit screening donations to the Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia and for supplies to the STEAM-plus Summer Camp held at the Clarkston Community Center. Further, Better Bureau is donating two scholarships (a $1500 value) to kids at the Clarkston Community Center to attend Camp Flix, a filmmaking camp for kids 11-17 years old, so that they can better tell their own stories.
The program, co-hosted by the Clarkston Community Center, GSU’s MOBILE STUDIOS, and The Center for Community Engagement (at Perimeter College), consisted of the following four documentary shorts:
DOSTÎ (FRIENDSHIP in Kurdish) – A team of Georgia State
University film students meet two Kurdish Brothers from
Syria. The two groups come together to learn they are more
alike than they think by exchanging culture and embracing
youthfulness. Watch the DOSTÎ Trailer.
RECONNECTING ROOTS – Kpor Shee is a Burmese refugee,
who has been living in Clarkston for eight years. After a 15-
year absence, Kpor is returning to her village to teach a bible
camp of her own design. She has agreed to document her
trip, but if caught by the military, she could face jail time. Watch the
Reconnecting Roots Trailer.
A DISPLACED PEOPLE: THE ROHINGYA – Refugee and
student filmmakers collectively reveal the stories and lives
within the Burmese Rohingyan Community Center, a
grassroots organization aiding the growing number of
Rohingyan refugees in Clarkston, GA. Watch the A Displaced People: The Rohingya Trailer.
BEHIND COMMUNITY – A reflexive look behind the collective
scenes and egalitarian methods of Community-Based Media
Production that also celebrates inclusive
collective filmmaking beyond the typical classroom.