Every year, unique perspectives from around the world come to San Diego for IRC’s International Documentary Film Series. From the frontlines of conflict to rebuilding life in a new country, these films take an honest look at the reality of the refugee experience. Each screening is followed by a Q&A discussion with an expert on the film’s subject area.
Angels Are Made of Light | May 1 | 6:30pm
Synopsis: Conceived as a cinematic ode to Afghan civilians, filmed over three years, ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT traces the lives of young students and their teachers at a school in the old city of Kabul. Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with a present-day portrait of a working-class neighborhood, the film offers an intimate and nuanced vision. Moving seamlessly through the points of view of multiple characters—three brothers, their friends, parents, male and female teachers, an elderly cleaning woman at the school—the film allows their thoughts and ideas to play out on the grand stage of Kabul. Their memories of the Afghan kingdom, the communist revolution and the civil war are brought to life through rare 35mm archival material unearthed in Afghanistan.
Guest Speaker: Farahnaz, a teacher in her home country of Afghanistan, was resettled to San Diego in 2018.
We Are Not Princesses | May 8 | 6:30pm
Synopsis: The Syrian refugee crisis is on the world stage. But We Are Not Princesses shows a personal side of the crisis most have never seen, following the daily lives of four remarkable women, whose extraordinary struggles and strength tell a different kind of story, about obedience and defiance, resilience and reconciliation. With intimately revealing footage and evocative animation, filmmakers Bridgette Auger and Itab Azzam follow how the women as they navigate new lives and small freedoms in exile, adapting to new roles: in their families and in a theater production of the Greek play, Antigone. Behind the scenes, they discover a kinship with the ancient princess, whose tragedy mirrors their own. While Antigone’s story is legend, theirs are still being written.
Guest Speaker: Sara Maamouri, Producer & Editor
It Will Be Chaos | May 15 | 6:30pm
Synopsis: It Will Be Chaos offers a personal look at the human consequences of the refugee crisis spanning the Mediterranean, as told through the stories of asylum seekers, as well as the Italian locals who cope with the influx of newcomers. The documentary highlights the story of Aregai, an Eritrean man fleeing repression and deprivation, and the journey of a Syrian mother and father, Wael and Doha, who lead their family in a perilous Mediterranean crossing. Stirring and complex, It Will Be Chaos is a harrowing look at what refugees go through when forced to escape war and terror at home. This revealing documentary highlights some of the troubling anti-immigrant populism and logistical issues they encounter after reaching the shores of Europe, which prevent them from living in freedom and safety.
Guest Speakers: Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, Directors/Producers
All ticket sales go toward funding IRC programs in San Diego.
Content Guidance: These films may contain themes/material that could be intense for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised
These films represent the views of the contributing documentary filmmakers and do not represent formal positions of the International Rescue Committee.