I’m finally at a stage where I feel that I’m able to make progress with my documentary project on refugees and migrants in Wellington (working title: “Roots”). Here’s an exerpt from the proposal:
The kind of documentary project that is envisaged, seeks not express the hardship of being a refugee, but to instead capture the experience of rebuilding a life: re-establishing oneself in a place far from one’s roots. In doing so it attempts to build upon Sheikh’s more humane approach. To be clear, it is not intended to simply ignore the pain attendant to being forced from one’s homeland. That suffering is part of what makes the lives of these people remarkable. Instead, the intent is to shift the focus of the documentary toward present issues and struggles related to establishing new lives in a new country. In this way, this documentary proposes to acknowledge hardship and loss, without becoming too emphatically laden by them.
The following is from an “expression of intent” that I plan to provide to people who may be interested in the project:
I’m interested in meeting and collaborating with refugee and migrant people and families, who are at different stages of establishing new lives for themselves in Wellington. The intent is to photograph these people: celebrating the links that they still have to their origins, interacting with their adopted communities, and in places that they see as “theirs”.
Today, I met with the president of Wellington’s Afghan Association. I admire that he is not “backward about coming forward”, and genuinely wants to see the people of his community openly celebrate their origins, while interacting fully with their new society. I found this inspiring.