Refugee Children Watching Danish Films

INITIATIVE. Cinema on the Road, a project promoting children’s film culture in Lebanon, has kicked off with screenings for Syrian and Palestinian refugee children. Films can make vulnerable kids open up, says Khadije Nasser, a project worker at the Danish embassy in Beirut.

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CINEMA ON THE ROAD. Children attending a screening of Danish films in Lebanon.

Morten the hedgehog is jealous of his new little brother, in "Having a Brother," and Alfred in "Helium" ponders life after death – feelings children all over the world can identify with.

My best experience was a girl who said she had never been to the movies before and had never seen children in a movie.

Now Syrian and Palestinian children in Lebanese refugee camps are given an opportunity to see and talk about children's films through the initiative Cinema on the Road, which is backed by the Danish Embassy in Beirut, the Lebanese film institution Metropolis Art Cinema, and the Danish Film Institute.

Cinema on the Road

More than a million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon today, while many refugees are also arriving from Palestine.

Twenty screenings were held in seven refugee camps and informal tent camps across Lebanon. In connection with the screenings, children and teens discussed and analysed the films' themes and reflected on their form and content.

The children are divided into the age groups of 5-8, 8-12 and 12+ years.

Around 25-40 children attend each screening.

The films are subtitled, dubbed or interpreted live in Arabic.

These films are shown:

The Mouse by Pil Maria Gunnarsson
Helium by Anders Walter
The Flame and the Cotton Ball by Niels Bisbo
Having a Brother by Esben Toft Jacobsen
Ernst shorts by Alice de Champfleury
We Shall Overcome by Niels Arden Oplev
... and
The Kid by Charles Chaplin

The project is a partnership between the Danish Embassy in Beirut, Metropolis Art Cinema and the Danish Film Institute.

The DFI has experience with other international film projects in countries including Palestine, Syria, Brazil, Tanzania and Uganda.