Virtual Reality film on refugee crisis premiers at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in March 2020
Following international production, not-for-profit production company Reality Learning and World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) are proud to premier its immersive virtual reality (VR) experience on Athens’ refugee crisis at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece this March.
The eight minute documentary, Night Becomes Day, was shot in urban Athens and refugee camp to provide an impressionistic experience of what it means to seek safety in Greece and rebuild meaningful lives with the support of the local community.
Production Company Founder and Film Producer, Judith Hewitson, said that when it comes to better understanding the experience of refugee communities it’s the human stories that most need to be told.
“We know the facts and figures, and we can read the social and political analysis, but when it comes to building a shared understanding and starting to tackle some of those stigmas, it’s the human stories and their relationships that can really help shift the dial.”
Ms Hewitson said VR is offering a valuable avenue to do this. “Night Becomes Day is a simple eight minute piece, but with VR and 180 degree content, we’re really putting our audience into the shoes and relationships of people seeking asylum.
“It’s an incredibly powerful approach and I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to work with the talented Director Daniel Bury to now show audiences in Greece, and soon more broadly on the international circuit.”
The film follows the lives of teenager Sohail Haqyar, musician Ali Al Suwani and artist Nakam as they work with Human Rights Worker and Occupational Therapist, Theo Bogeas, to pursue aspirations and passions.
“Through this documentary, we had the opportunity to raise the voice and experience of the real experts of the refugee displacement and to highlight our enabling role as professionals who work in the field. We are grateful for the trust of people.”
Dr Kit Sinclair, leader of this World Federation of Occupational Therapists project said the documentary had gone above and beyond initial expectations.
“Our network of occupational therapists spans dozens of countries who now face the very real challenge of working with displaced people amidst extremely challenging conditions.
“This piece is incredibly powerful and we’re looking forward to sharing it to bring our therapists and stakeholders into the lives of those we work with and inspire them to understand what wonderful relationships and experiences can be created when this is done well.”
Night Becomes Day will have its World Premiere 5-15 March at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. It will then be screened at film festivals in 2020 and available for humanitarian organisations to help shift attitudes in the community and inform policy making.