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Films and Fundraising for Saharawi Refugees

Films and Fundraising for Saharawi Refugees

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ActOne Cinema & Café

High Street

London

W3 6NA

United Kingdom

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Join us for a double film screening and QA with the filmmakers and Saharawi activists to help raise money for Sandblast!

About this event

This special fund and awareness raising event will help support Sandblast Arts, a UK arts & human rights charity promoting the voices and visions of the Saharawi from Western Sahara.

All funds raised will go towards Desert Voicebox; our after school programme providing music education and English language lessons with Saharawi children in the refugee camps in Algeria.

After the screenings, we will be hosting a Q&A discussion with UK-based filmmakers Carolina Graterol, Daniel Petkoff, Peter Shields, and local Saharawi activists. The Q&A will be hosted by Paula Beegan from the Cambridge African Film Festival.

Thanks to the generous support of Act One Cinema, we will also be using their fully accessible gallery space to showcase Saharawi art and photography, a silent auction, traditional Saharawi tea ceremonies and more. The gallery space will also be open to the public from May 30-June 9 with a photography exhibition and sale from Sandblast founder Danielle Smith.

THE FILMS:

Sandtracks: This is an intimate look into Sandblast founder Danielle Smith’s mission to bring the unknown struggle of the Saharawi people for self-determination to wider attention. Featuring fascinating interviews with Danielle and Saharawi refugees, filmmaker Carolina Graterol tells this story about how people from such different cultures find common ground and unity.  

You Can't Get There from Here: In 2018, filmmakers Daniel Petkoff and Peter Shields set out to cross the Sahara desert on a mission to deliver a shipment of prosthetic limbs to the amputee unit at the Banjul hospital in Gambia. The film tells the story of a journey that starts from Plymouth and takes the filmmakers across Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania to reach The Gambia. While travelling through Western Sahara they meet underground Saharawi activists living under Morocco’s occupation there. This encounter provides a chilling insight into the little-known story of the indigenous Saharawi people, who for decades have endured repression and systematic human rights abuses in the pursuit of their self-determination rights and independence dreams.

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES:

5pm - Gallery space open to the public, featuring Saharawi artwork, food and pastries, photography, handicrafts, merchandise, raffle prizes

6:30pm - Introduction and welcome by Danielle Smith, founder of Sandblast Arts and ActOne Cinema

6:35pm - Screening of Sandtracks

INTERMISSION

7:10pm - Screening of You Can't Get There From Here

8:40pm - Q&A with the filmmakers and Saharawi activists, moderated by Paula Beegan Haddad

9:10-10pm - Post-screening mingling

REGISTER NOW, SPOTS ARE LIMITED! MINIMUM £10 DONATION ENCOURAGED!

About Western Sahara

Western Sahara is an approximately 250,000 square kilometre swath of desert on the Atlantic coast of Africa. Rich in phosphate reserves and off-shore fisheries, Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975. It became the site of brutal conflict between Morocco and the indigenous Saharawi people, led by the Polisario Front and backed by Algeria. In 1991, the UN established the Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) tasked with maintaining the ceasefire agreement and carrying out a vote to self-determination. But the referendum has been repeatedly postponed, and today most Saharawis are divided among refugee camps in Algeria, the Moroccan-occupied territory, and the liberated ‘Free Zone.’

Today, a third generation of Saharawi refugee children are growing up with few prospects of a better life. According to the latest UNHCR 2018 report, over 170,000 Saharawis live in 5 large refugee camps along Algeria's southwestern border, and 80% are women and children. Almost entirely aid-dependent for their survival needs, the Saharawis endure harsh living and weather conditions with few opportunities to develop and be heard.

About Sandblast

Sandblast seeks to raise awareness of the Saharawi refugee plight in South Western Algeria and build support for their self-determination cause. Through education, arts and skills development projects, Sandblast equips the refugees, especially youth and women, to become self-reliant and able to reach audiences more widely to tell their story, promote their culture and advocate for their rights. Our ongoing core project is Desert Voicebox, providing English and music education to over 60 Saharawi refugee children in an after school programme. It spans 4 years of primary school and trains local women to teach and run the programme.

About ActOne Cinema

ActOne Cinema is a new community cinema for Acton, with a 60 seat auditorium fully equipped with the latest digital cinema technology. The film programme brings you the latest quality independent films, world cinema, documentaries, film festivals and film-maker events, and the occasional quality blockbuster. The eventual aim is to build a second screen, in the meantime this space will act as a gallery and performance space, the rest of the ground floor has a new bar, cafe and lounge area.

***The ground floor is fully accessible with a ramp at the front of the building. There is also wheelchair space in the auditorium and new toilets that are fully accessible.

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ActOne Cinema & Café

High Street

London

W3 6NA

United Kingdom

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