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On the 30th of April, we hosted another sold-out event, with an evening filled with film, discussion and reflection centred around ‘the refugee crisis’.

We brought together a programme of short films, spanning the breadth of stories, experiences, and geographies that sit behind the word ‘refuge’. We used ‘Home’ as the unifying theme for the evening; both the hope to find a new place to call home, inseparable from the longing for a home that cannot be returned to.

Refuge (Dir: Matthew K. Firpo, Documentary, 2016)
Refuge is a multimedia project chronicling human stories from the European Refugee Crisis, focused on humanity and hope. Shot on location in Greece, January 2016.

Oksijan (Dir: Edward Watts, Live Action, 2017)
The incredible true story of a 7-year old Afghan refugee who was being smuggled to the UK in a refrigerated lorry when the oxygen inside began to run out.

The Island (Dir: Gabrielle Brady, Documentary, 2017)
Christmas Island, off the coast of Australia: here 50 million crabs make their slow and ancient migration, while thousands of people seeking asylum are indefinitely held in a high security detention facility. Poh Lin, a trauma counsellor living on the island, bears witness to the dramatic stories and decline of those being detained.

Flight (Dir: Laura Wadha, Documentary, 2017)
Two young sisters who arrive in Sweden having fled the war in Syria are becoming teenagers in a new world. They try to hold on to the fond memories of their once beautiful home while struggling to deal with the repercussions of growing up surrounded by war.

We followed the screening with a discussion about the refugee crisis, joined by Inca from Meena, Jack from Help Refugees, Laura who directed Flight, and Helen from Supper and Stories. The discussion focused upon the importance of civic action and of pro-actively welcoming refugees and migrants into our communities. However, the panel also highlighted the importance of policy change, to put pressure on our government to welcome people seeking refuge.

The evening raised £335 for the wonderful MEENA Centre (The ‘Unofficial’ Women and Children’s Centre), previously based in Calais, which supports women and children refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

Pride

On the 13th of March, we hosted a screening which has been on the cards since the beginning of Film Club: Pride, with the original activists.

The film tells the story of queer activists in 1980s London, who raised money through the LGBTQ community to help support the Welsh miners of Dulais Valley through the miners’ strike. Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners are an inspiration to many contemporary activists, both for their uncompromising declaration of solidarity and for the comradeship which was built with the mining communities. The miners’ arrival at 1985 London is a powerful moment in queer history. To find out more about LGSM, this article is a great place to start, and the wonderful Gays The Word is always worth a visit.

As the credits rolled, and everyone wiped away tears to the tune of ‘Solidarity forever’, we invited our panel to the stage. We were joined by Mike and Gethin from LGSM, two of the original activists the film is based upon, along with Ida, Julyette and Harry, representing Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants. Founded in 2014, this group of queer activists fight to challenge the racist narrative and hostile environment that migrants face in the UK. The panel reflected on the power of the story of LGSM, and the countless solidarity groups it has inspired around the world. The censoring of the extent of LGSM’s socialist origins was revealed, leading to the wonderful but NSFW quote… ‘there were only two things banned from the script: fisting and socialism’. The activists from LGSMigrants shared their work in protesting Britain’s hostile immigration policies, and demonstrated the importance of keeping queer solidarity alive.

The event was in aid of two wonderful charities – Oasis Cardiff and Welsh Refugee Council – who work to make refugees feel welcome and supported in Wales. We raised a massive £1250, so thanks to everyone for all the support