Short Films on the Refugee Crisis Displacement by Immigrants

By Victoria Remley

The new short films by the Immigrant and Refugee Vision sheds light on the refugee crisis displacement in Boston, Massachusetts.

Claudia Berlinski, the McDonough Museum of Art’s program director, said immigrants created each film and Community Supported Film produced each one.

“The founder of Community Supported Film, Michael Sheridan, worked with them to teach them some documentary filmmaking techniques and helped them to produce their short films,” Berlinski said.

The films give audience members a glimpse of immigrant and refugee experiences in America. Berlinski said she thinks the films will be enlightening. She said the topic is relevant and important politically and socially.

“I think it’s important for people to see some of the realities of the situation,” Berlinski said.

She said the films compliment the exhibit, so she contacted Community Supported Film and purchased some of the films.

Berlinski set up a schedule for multiple screenings, collected the films from Sheridan and emailed several academic departments she thought might be interested in the films. She also sent an email about McDonough’s programming to all Youngstown State University faculty and staff.

Susanne Slavick, the RESORT exhibit artist, said the films show similarities between refugees and Americans.

“The more we know about each other the less we fear each other. It’s an important project because this particular series related to the show,” Slavick said.

The films show audience members why immigrants came to America and what they hope to do here.

Slavick and Andrew Ellis Johnson, RESORT exhibit artists, suggested showing the films at the McDonough Museum of Art to Sheridan.

Slavick said she thought the films would be a great supplementary program to accompany the exhibit at McDonough.

“McDonough was very gracious to host some of them [the art] and hold repeated screenings,” she said.

Slavick learned about the films through Sheridan’s mailing list. She thought the film would work well with the exhibit, so she wrote to the gallery staff and they approved hosting the videos.

Sarah Herb, a junior early childhood intervention specialist major, did not have high expectations of the film. She related to an English as a second language teacher in the film because ESL is her major.

“I really like the girl in the beginning, Dimple Rana. She was cool,” Herb said. “The guy at the end from Haiti, I don’t get how he can go back and forth so easily if immigration is a huge deal, but it was awesome.”

Herb heard about the event through her Teaching English as a Second Language Methods class. She said the film related to the class.

“I didn’t know what that was going to have to do with it [TSAW], but it actually really tied into what we talked about in class,” she said.

The remaining screenings are 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, Friday, Sept. 28, Tuesday, Oct. 9, Friday, Oct. 12, Tuesday, Oct. 23 and Friday, Oct. 26 at the McDonough Museum of Art.