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Monday, October 13, 2008

Local Filmmakers Team with International Institute to Cronicle Refugees’ Journey from Ethiopia to RI

This Press Release comes from John Lavall (401-749-7333), john@devlomedia.com

Documentary to premiere on November 19 at benefit for International Institute

(Providence, Rhode Island – October 10, 2008) -- The journey of a family that spent more than five years in an Ethiopian refugee camp before relocating to Rhode Island is the focus of the upcoming documentary, “Home Across Lands.”

The documentary will premiere on November 19, 2008 at the Columbus Theater in Providence at a benefit for the International Institute of Rhode Island. “Home Across Lands” was commissioned by the International Institute to chronicle the journey of a group of Eritrean-Kunaman refugees making the transition from life in the Shimelba Refugee Camp in Northern Ethiopia to their new home in Rhode Island.

The Kunama featured in the film fled their native Eritrea and spent years in the confines of the camp, until they were granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The film focuses on their journey to Rhode Island and their journey to becoming self-reliant, invested participants in their new home.

The film was shot over a one year period and features footage and interviews from various locations in Ethiopia and Rhode Island. The experience for the filmmakers was a challenging one as the U.S. State Department had issued a warning for travelers within 50 km of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The refugee camp was located 45 km south of the Eritrean border.

“Our goal was to present viewers with a first-hand visual representation of the journey, while giving a voice to those who live in the camp,” said director John Lavall, who produced the one hour documentary in conjunction with executive producer Mary Copp, cinematographer Jessica Jennings, and editor Julie Lewis/editor.

The film takes viewers on the odyssey from the camp on the arid northern border of Ethiopia and Eritrea to Rhode Island’s Spring House Hotel and Resort on Block Island. “Home Across Lands” illustrates the ways the International Institute bridges the vast divide from life in a refugee camp to life in Rhode Island as they help the Kunama in making sense of apartment living, public transportation, employment and health care, while nurturing their own community as they adapt to a larger and very foreign one.

“We were fortunate to have Bill Shuey, executive director of International Institute of Rhode Island, and Eskinder Negash of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to help us navigate the various agencies that are needed to get into these restricted areas,” said Mary Copp. “With their help, we were able to interview Gorashi Menga, his wife Ayange, and several of their relatives in the camp and follow their journey of resettlement as they arrived three weeks later at TF Green Airport in Warwick.”

“Home Across Lands” is a production of Devlo Media and Vision Wink Films. For more information, visit www.devlomedia.com or www.iiri.org.

John Lavall
Devlo Media
41 Drowne Parkway
Rumford, RI 02916
401-749-7333
www.devlomedia.com
john@devlomedia.com

(This is not an RIFC Production)

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