Malka makes London Film Festival Debut, Sun 27th May 2018
An Ipswich-based art-music-film collaboration dedicated to refugee children, Malka, by Stefan Freedman and Lois Cordelia, which has already been screened as part of international film festivals in the USA, Greece and Romania, is about to make its London West End debut after being selected as part of the London Rolling Film Festival on Sunday 27th May 2018.
"Malka" is dedicated to refugee children everywhere, evoking the journey of a young girl refugee, Malka, and her mother across wilderness and hardship in search of safety. The film features haunting acoustic music and lyrics by Stefan Freedman, accompanied by atmospheric mixed media illustrations by Lois Cordelia. The film in its entirety can be viewed here. Public sharing of the film is encouraged.
"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."
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:
"When Adrian [Lush] first urged me to record 'Malka' it was simply because he felt it was an exceptional song. We liked the idea of putting it on YouTube to share with friends.
"Once Lois started producing artwork, so captivating and emotive, I realised that the narrative needed exactly the right voice with an equal power. So delighted that my first choice vocalist, Sebastiana, was willing to come from Norwich to record with us.
"Once finished, the creative project seemed to merit an 'unveiling'. ... The unofficial one (for friends) was at the Ipswich Quakers on 17th March 2017, and the official open-to-public one was at the Red Rose Chain's Avenue theatre on 28th April. Combining the first public showing with a talk from SRS, entertainments and a meal - as a fundraiser for refugees - seemed to follow on naturally. I can't now recall who first suggested it or when, but how could it have been otherwise? Malka seems to have a life of her own!
"I couldn't in my wildest dreams have imagined the event raising over £1,000 for SRS. Very thrilled about this result. Big heartfelt congratulations to all involved.
Stefan and Lois wish to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making the fundraiser events a success, including all musicians and support, everyone who attended and bought tickets for the events, helped out with catering, promotion, press, radio and media coverage, ticket sales and facilities, sold copies of Malka on DVD, gave talks, assisted with transport and set-up, and everyone who bid in the silent auction. Special thanks go to Joanna Carrick, Red Rose Chain, Madeline Lees, the Angel Cafe in Diss, and Harford Community Centre in Norwich.
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)
Storm winds whistle in the sky
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.
Keywords: acrylics, art, asylum seekers, dedicated, film, international film festival, ipswich, lois cordelia, london, malka, music, paper-cutting, portraits, refugee children, refugee support, refugees, sebastiana black, speed-painting, stefan freedman, suffolk
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