As western Michigan prepares to welcome hundreds of Afghan refugees to the community over the coming months, the Holland International Relations Commission highlights the refugee experience in the United States as part of its film series annual.
The commission’s annual Reel Time film series will begin on November 22 with the acclaimed documentary, “This is my home: a refugee story. “The film will be screened at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
“’This Is Home: A Refugee Story’ provides the opportunity for the Dutch community to connect with the world at a time when families from all over the world are joining our community,” said Alissa Wilson, President of IRC. “The more we can understand the stories and challenges facing refugees and immigrants, the more welcoming and strong our community can be. ”
After the film, Kristine Van Noord, Director of Adult and Refugee Programs for Bethany Christian Services, will discuss local resettlement efforts.
This year the film festival is moving to Hope College’s Knickerbocker Theater in downtown Holland thanks to a partnership between IRC and the college.
The documentary offers an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to rebuild their lives in their new home in Baltimore. They attend cultural orientation classes and job training sessions where they have to “learn America” – everything from how to take public transportation to negotiating new gender roles.
Peabody award-winning filmmaker Alexandra Shiva was praised for taking a fresh look at classic American immigration history and challenging audiences to see past differences to find common ground.
“This Is Home” goes beyond statistics, headlines and political rhetoric to tell deeply personal stories, putting a human face on the global refugee crisis. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where it won the Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary. The documentary has been screened at dozens of film festivals around the world and has received numerous awards.
The aim of Holland IRC is to build and maintain meaningful relationships between the Dutch and the whole world through cultural, educational and professional contacts.