- A Documentary
Hi, my name is Zohra Zaka, and I'm a filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. This is a campaign to raise immediate funds for my documentary “Semblance of Self - The Face of a Refugee.” I have been working professionally in the world of film and television as a cinematographer and camera operator for 15 years, and this will mark my feature length documentary directorial debut.
As an Afghan-American who had to flee my birth country in my youth because of a war that is still being fought to this day, this particular documentary, which focuses on giving a face and a voice to refugees, resonates a great deal with me. The word “refugee” has become unfairly stigmatized. Through organic storytelling I hope that the story of these refugees will lessen some of that blemished view. I have been working toward telling the stories of people, whose lives as refugees began in Greece, using their own words and through their own eyes.
The funds I'm hoping to raise here in this round of GoFundMe are for the immediate upcoming filming set to happen in Germany at end of Feb-March, and a beginning for filming in France and Greece in May. The entire budget for this documentary exceeds this given goal, but I hope to continue fundraising moving forward until the full story is told.
Meet Fahim - Video above
Near the old port city of Piraeus, in the town of Skaramangas in west Athens, a refugee camp on the mainland shelters some 3,200 asylum-seeking refugees. Among them is 19-year-old footballer, Ahmad Fahim Ahamadi from Afghanistan. Fahim was a fast rising talent in his home country of Afghanistan and played for the youth level national team until the Taliban threatened to take his life. While most teens at that age might be in the midst of considering their college choices or the film they’d like to watch on a Friday night, Fahim finds himself sitting inside a metal shipping container, a place he now he calls “home” and relives when he was forced to flee his homeland two years ago, leaving his family and friends behind to take the treacherous journey from Afghanistan to Greece.
The short video piece that I have attached a link for is very raw footage (no color grading or post audio design mix) of a moment in time with Fahim, one of the five original members of Team Hope - the football team that began these strong bonds.
Introducing Team Hope
About a year ago I came across a short online article about a group of refugees from different backgrounds that had formed a football (soccer) team inside their refugee camp in Greece, searching for a semblance of normalcy and a chance to leave their troubles while playing the game they love.
Team Hope, a refugee football team that was formed at the Skaramangas Refugee Camp in West Athens, was the vehicle that led me to meet and befriend this talented group of young men. Fleeing war, indiscriminate civilian attacks, abuse, torture, persecution, unlawful and inhumane practices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Uganda, these footballers found hope in each other. Football is what drew them together, but the bonds that formed within those friendships may be the faith they need to face their much too often uncertain futures.
Two years after finding each other, as with most refugees, these friends have been separated and sent to various European countries, within the relocation program, while still awaiting asylum and still in the midst of a life in limbo. Each one of these footballers, friends, and ultimately refugees have their own voice, their own dreams, their own fears, and their own sense of self.
Semblance of Self
This documentary extends beyond Greece to Germany, France and the unknown since the lives of my friends here and many other refugees are in the hands of the decision makers. Fahim is living as a refugee in Germany, Apedel Simon from Uganda and Reza from Afghanistan remain in Greece, Abdallah from Iraq has found himself in France, and Jano from Syria just three hours south from where Fahim's camp is in Germany.
Every donation would go directly toward the funds to cover the making of this documentary. Here is a list of some immediate needs: airfare for 2-3 crew to/from NYC to Germany, to/from NYC to France, to/from NYC to Greece, housing the crew in Germany, France, Greece, Camera package, Lenses, Tripod, Grip/Electric -minimal lighting rentals in perspective countries, Audio equipment rentals including Channel Mixer, Lav and Boom Mics, Memory cards for camera and audio, External Hard Drives for the footage, Arabic Translator, Editing Software, Expendables, Printing, Crew meals in Germany, France, and Greece for crew, Vehicle and Transportation (taxi, trains, buses) in Germany, France, and Greece.
With love and gratitude,
- Jen Cohen
- Iris Ng
- Rachel Brown
- Derek Whipple
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