Screen31 Short: The Story of Rand and Omar
25 Jun 2018
Our marvelous Screen31 group collaborated with a couple of young Syrian refugees in Kent to tell their story in a short film. The short was presented at Gulbenkian’s Refugee Week 2018 Celebration on Wednesday 20 June.
We asked Annabel, a member of Screen31, to tell us a little bit about her experience creating the short:
“SCREEN31 is a group of young people I am a part of who convene to create films. We were given the task of making a short documentary-style film about the experience of Syrian refugees to screen at the Gulbenkian’s Refugee Week event. It was the story of siblings Rand and Omar that we told. The pair visited us periodically throughout the creative process, which was one that involved interviewing them, thinking up visuals, physically making and filming those visuals and editing the whole thing together. Working around challenges is a natural part of film-making, so we quickly adapted to their request to not be filmed and only have audio recorded. I came to know the transcript well, and some of Rand’s lines were heart-wrenching, for example “all the happiness was upside down”. With sensitive themes involved, such as war, kidnapping and islamophobia, mastering the balance between staying truthful but still tasteful was tricky. It is my view that we achieved it well.
I worked with an incredible team of hardworking individuals who all wanted to do Rand and Omar’s story justice. Our organisation was key: Tanicha, as the Creative Director, was especially indispensable to the making of the final product. The tireless efforts of all the young people involved resulted in the piece coming together in time for the deadline. The experience as a whole was invaluable to me, right from getting to know Rand personally and presenting the film with her at the Refugee Week event, to editing the 30 minute interview down to 2 and a half minutes, to learning the art of furiously cutting out pieces of paper to make a Syrian town. I would encourage others to take up the chance to involve yourself with refugees and hear their stories. It is vital to see them for who they are.”
The Story of Rand and Omar will be played before feature film The Breadwinner at the Gulbenkian’s cinema on Sunday 1 July.