A unique online film festival showcasing some of the best in recent world cinema will be launched at BFI Southbank as part of this year's national Refugee Week celebrations (June 14-20). Brightwide, a film website set up by BAFTA-winning actor Colin Firth and his wife Livia, is hosting films which explore the refugee experience such as In This World, Welcome, La Forteresse and No One Knows About Persian Cats during Refugee Week, in partnership with the national charity Refugee Action.
The festival will be launched on June 10 at BFI Southbank to coincide with the event From Casablanca to Calais: Exile on Celluloid, a panel discussion featuring prestigious directors and cultural commentators looking at the depiction of refugees in film.
Mr Firth, who campaigns for refugee rights, said: "Our online festival will bring the experience of exile, and the situations that compel people to become refugees, to life. Refugee Week is all about celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK, but it is also about nurturing a better understanding of the issues that face people in exile.
"Brightwide is proud to play its part in mobilising support for this important cause."
Directors Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things, My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen), Mat Whitecross (Road to Guantanamo, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Moving to Mars), and Kenny Glenaan (Summer, Gas Attack, Yasmin) will join cultural commentators such as Professor Terence Wright of Ulster University, at the BFI on the evening of June 10 to examine the extent to which film can really provide a window into the realities of refugees' lives.
The panel, chaired by Channel 4 News broadcaster Samira Ahmed, will look at films from the BFI National Archive such as Dirty Pretty Things, Casablanca, Welcome and Refuge England.
Jill Roberts, Chief Executive of the charity Refugee Action, said: "We are delighted to be teaming up with BFI Southbank for the second year running to bring the experiences of refugees and people in exile to a wider audience. The new partnership with Brightwide will mean that this year that audience will hugely expand.
"It can be easy to forget that refugees are normal men, women and children who find themselves in extraordinary and traumatic situations which force them to flee. The films that will be showcased at the BFI and available on Brightwide.com throughout Refugee Week will bring to life the complex, harrowing and inspiring experiences of refugees the world over."
Brightwide is at: www.brightwide.com
See also: Refugee Action www.refugee-action.org.uk
Refugee Week www.refugeeweek.org.uk
Simple Acts campaign www.simpleacts.org.uk
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