Hi Patricia--Thank you for your feedback and question!
I have heard of projects working with refugee communities in other countries but not in Dadaab--thank you so much for sharing; I will be sure to show this to the rest of the IFF team.
We created the Immigration Film Fest to highlight stories specifically related to migration, which is why this is mentioned in the name--we thought that screening films would be a powerful way to spark learning and discussion about this important topic. Each year, we issue a call for films, and also work to identify filmmakers ourselves and encourage them to apply (this year we received over 340 submissions!). The filmmakers that submit to our festival usually also submit their films to be shown elsewhere (i.e. festivals not focusing specifically on migration), and we have seen that they are proud to highlight that they have been selected for IFF as well as the other festivals, as this gives them an important example of support as well as publicity. You raise an important point, though, and I think it is important to have a two-pronged approach in our project if it is chosen: to support young filmmakers by showing their work at IFF and also making sure that we help find ways to show their films elsewhere, so as to have a wider impact, including in venues not focused on migration.
Hi Zoey--That's a great point! And what I think is so important about this project is that the young filmmakers, who have the lived experience, are the ones choosing what stories they would like to tell and how. We plan to continue working with participants after their films are completed to screen their films at various community spaces through our film festival in the DC area and beyond. IFF likes to host panels following film screenings to continue the conversation, and participants (i.e. the filmmakers) are able to speak on these if they would like. Looking farther ahead, we have worked to keep filmmakers from past years involved and to cultivate a community of filmmakers working on migration--for instance, some of them have volunteered to review film submissions in future years, and we also have a Facebook group that is meant to serve as a forum for people to share films, ideas, and questions. We would like to keep participants from this project involved as well, and think they would benefit from the network that we have built up over the years. The hope would also be that the mentorships and other connections from the trainings endure beyond the program to support participants in the long term, including in helping them pursue a career in film if that is what they would like to do. Thanks for your question! And best of luck to you as well--your project sounds interesting! Caitlin