Malka Celebration Sun 4th March: fundraising for Norwich Refugees
A short film called Malka, dedicated to refugee children (2017, dir: Stefan Freedman) is continuing to raise valuable funds to help refugees in East Anglia and far beyond. Following its screening at two very successful fundraising events in Ipswich and Diss last year, Malka will be the focus of a third event at Harford Community Centre in Norwich on Sunday 4th March 2018 (2.00 pm - 5.00 pm). All proceeds will go to New Routes, a vibrant local charity working to settle and integrate refugees in Norwich.
At its official launch in Ipswich in April 2017, the Malka film raised more than £1000 for Suffolk Refugee Support. Malka is a short non-profit film that aims to reach out to the public and promote empathy and understanding of refugees, seen through the eyes of a child. A second fundraiser event at the Angel Cafe in Diss in July 2017 raised more than £600 in addition for the Hoxne based charity Next Stop Symi which takes vital supplies to trapped refugees on the Greek island of Symi and elsewhere. During Autumn 2017, the film was selected for screening as part of three international film festivals, including the Symi International Film Festival in Greece, Woodengate Film Festival in Maramures County, Romania, and the Documentaries Without Borders Festival in Delaware, USA.
Above: Musicians including Sebastiana Black and Stefan Freedman performing a live concert during the Ipswich Malka fundraiser in April 2017.
Below: Left to right: Andy Mapplebeck, Stefan Freedman, Adrian Lush, Lois Cordelia, January 2017. Photo credit: Tony Mounter.
Above: Left to right: Andy Mapplebeck, Stefan Freedman, Adrian Lush, Lois Cordelia, January 2017. Photo credit: Tony Mounter.
(dedicated to refugee children)
One of the challenges that Lois faced was how to convey both the traumas and the aspirations of the young girl, Malka, in ways that touched people's emotions without being unbearably painful to watch. The film hints at the trials and hardships that Malka and her mother endure, but also plants seeds of hope for a brighter future.
Lois wanted her pictures to have a universal appeal, hence her depictions of Malka embrace various ages and different nationalities. She also emphasises the value of using creative activities as therapy for refugee children, suggesting how the young girl could express her memories of trauma through her own paintings. Remembering how to paint as a child was an important part of Lois's journey following in the footsteps of Malka.
"Fascinating, astounding, haunting, very beautiful. An amazing venture for a great cause. A phrase that springs to mind: 'a modern Gesamtkunstwerk' of real beauty."
"I love this video. Through it I have felt the plight of refugees in a way that no amount of other media coverage could have done. Well done to all who have been involved in making it."
Malka director Stefan Freedman remarks: "The feedback from many people is passionate, nuanced and strongly affirming. My brother's (face-to-face) was the most surprising of all to me. He said that of all the creative projects over the years this one had gone furthest. Emotionally powerful and professionally impressive."
The development and future of Malka
Stefan Freedman was travelling on a train a few years ago when the idea for Malka first came to him. The music that began to flow together in his mind was originally inspired by a traditional Bulgarian folk tune. Stefan shaped his own lyrics to fit the music, evoking the words of a refugee mother to her young daughter, Malka, seeking to reassure her in the midst of unfamiliarity and confusion.
In Stefan's words:
"MALKA is the name of a seven year old girl. She is fleeing from extreme danger, looking for refuge. The inner world she inhabits - feelings, images, fears and hopes - is as real and viscerally present as the external one. She and her mother are the focus of a short (four and a half minutes) animation in which Malka represents refugee children everywhere.
"Her name means 'little one' in Bulgarian, and in both Arabic and Hebrew means 'queen'. The name came to me spontaneously while I wrote the song and only afterward I discovered the meanings.
"Today with an unprecedented number of displaced people seeking refuge, the media is full of stories about 'the refugee crisis'. This fuels fear and protest. Nations are putting pressure on other nations to take more refugees while negotiating to reduce their own intake.
"So the popular perception is one of grave uncertainty and risk, of facing a human tsunami. A 'refugee problem'. We become defensive and completely lose sight of the individual adult or child - unwillingly caught up in events they would never have chosen. The aim of this short film is to enchant viewers and evoke a feeling of understanding and empathy. The viewer is given glimpses not only of Malka's nightmarish memories, but of dreams and hopes that sustain her through hardship.
"My hope is that the film will open up the question that perhaps knowing or supporting even one person or family seeking refuge will be a rewarding experience. The short film has been used as a focal point for successful refugee fundraisers in collaboration with Suffolk Refugee Support."
(- Stefan Freedman, February 2018)
Keywords: acrylics, art, dance, exhibition, fundraiser, ipswich, live art demo, lois cordelia, malka, music, new routes, norwich, portraits, refugee children, refugees, speed-painting, stefan freedman
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