A new film festival celebrating the contribution of refugees to Scottish life is opening in Dundee.
The Refugee Film Festival will showcase films discussing the circumstances that force people around the world to flee their homes and seek refuge in another country.
Estimates suggest that there are 15.6 million refugees in the world. The UK is currently home to less than 1% of them, amounting to 0.27% of our population. 86% of refugees live in developing countries.
The five day festival aims to illustrate the challenges refugees face in seeking sanctuary and starting a new life in the UK.
It is the first of its kind in Dundee and features films from a number of acclaimed directors and filmmakers including Ken Loach, Stephen Frears and Michael Winterbottom.
Multiple award-winning French film 'Welcome' opens the festival on Monday, June 8.
Hate and intolerance
The Refugee Film Festival is the brainchild of Dr Monish Bhatia, a lecturer at Abertay who researches areas of asylum seeking, refugees, ‘race’ and racism.
“Asylum seekers are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society," he said, "Often they are labelled as ‘bogus’, ‘welfare scroungers’, ‘illegal’ and ‘boat people’ – but in reality, there is no such thing and such labels create an atmosphere of hate and intolerance."
“Most refugees are forced out of their home countries and some have lost their loved ones or become separated from them along the way," he continued. "As a result, many are traumatised and experiencing severe mental health problems.
“On arriving in the UK, they are subjected to bitterly harsh policies and procedures, such as indefinite detention, which means that their trauma and suffering is on-going and, in some cases, exacerbated by the current immigration and asylum legislations."
He added: “Scotland has always been welcoming to refugees, so it is also a celebration of the warmth of the Scottish people, the strong sense of social justice here and the fact that we live in a country that can offer protection to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Monday, June 8 – Welcome (2009)
Tuesday, June 9 - – Carla’s Song (1996)
Wednesday, June 10 – In This World (2002)
Thursday, June 11 – Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
Friday, June 12 – 2Be (2002)
Click on the links above to learn more about the films.
The Refugee Film Festival opens on Monday, June 8, and is being staged at the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University. More information is available online.
Header picture: Kenneth Lu