Life on the run by child refugees sharing their stories at European Film Fest

Refugee children using chalk to draw on the ground at a refugee deportation registry centre in Germany.
Refugee children using chalk to draw on the ground at a refugee deportation registry centre in Germany.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS - Life in a refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraq border as seen through the eyes of eight children who have fled the conflict in their homeland will be screened to the world at the 11th European Independent Film Festival to be held in Paris from April 8-10.

'Life on the Border', a documentary directed by Basmeh Soleiman, Delovan Kekha, Diar Omar, Hazem Khodeideh, Mahmod Ahmad, Ronahi Ezaddin, Sami Hossein and Zohour Saeid presents a unique perspective of their life experiences in the midst of brutal attacks by the Islamic State.

Another documentary portraying the largest forced migration since the Second World War as a result of the civil war in Syria and the post-conflict environment in other Middle Eastern countries, will also feature on the big screen at the Film Festival.

Titled simply as "Refugees", this Dutch production directed by Eduardo Hernandez Perez and Hans Jaap Melissen captures the real-life drama of the migrants through virtual reality images of their predicament and the hardships they have had to face in the battle for survival.

These two films are among 77 films from 31 countries selected for screening at the annual Film Festival where the Best European Independent Film 2016 will be selected. The Festival attracted entries for features, short films, documentaries, animation and student films through to experimental works.

"These films are a beacon of creative light shining upon what can be considered a rather dark world," said Festival President Scott Hillier. " It will make people think, entertain them, make them flinch, make them question and doubt, make them laugh and make them cry - all the feelings that great story-telling evokes."

Also appearing on the big screen is a film documenting the effort by former US National Basketball Association star, Dennis Rodman's efforts to exercise sport diplomacy by staging a match in North Korea in honour of its supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, in 2014.

In 'Dennis Rodman's Big Bang in Pyongyang' the film captures the cross-cultural interactions between Rodman's team of former NBA veterans and their North Korean counterparts in a friendly game. The former basketball pros were trounced by the North Koreans as the ball was in their court.

Rodman was portrayed with his new "best friend" who invited him to a ski resort to chill out together. Rodman received a big boo at home where he criticized in the US media for what was seen as a publicity stunt, though in Pyongyang, he appeared to have broken the ice with the dictator.

Other experimental films will also share the spotlights at the three-day event where the Film Festival organisers aim to discover, promote and project independent filmmakers from around the world by providing a platform for "risk-taking storytellers to reach the broadest audiences possible", its website stated.

"Our annual festival showcases films that demonstrate quality, innovation, and creativity in both form and content. Jury members come from around the globe, have a variety of backgrounds, and are all united in their desire to screen films that will truly impress and inspire attendees," said the Festival's website.

"Our screenings of new and thought-provoking cinematic creativity attracts more than just the public, but agents, talent scouts, production company representatives, distributors, and established producers, all of whom are searching for inspiring projects and raw talent."