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IRC's Refugee Film Festival

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The IRC in Phoenix is partnering with the IRC in San Diego to bring the annual Refugee Film Festival to the Arizona community! We're bringing award-winning documentary film and engaging conversation to your home throughout the month of April through this virtual event. Films will be available to stream starting the Saturday before each live Q&A event, which will take place Wednesdays April 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th at 6 pm. 

Join us for a celebration of international film, with education on issues facing displaced people and inspiration to get involved. Funds raised through this event will support the work of the IRC in Phoenix. 

Event details: 

  • WHAT: IRC's Refugee Film Festival 
  • WHEN: Streaming April 3-28  
  • WHERE: Online



Content Guidance: These films may contain themes/material that could be intense for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.​ 


Midnight Traveler puts a harrowing personal face on the modern refugee crisis, driving home the heartbreakingly relatable odysseys of the displaced. Photo: Midnight Traveler

Synopsis: When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee the country with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing the family’s uncertain journey firsthand, Fazili documents their harrowing trek across numerous borders revealing the danger and uncertainty facing refugees seeking asylum juxtaposed with the unbreakable love shared amongst the family on the run.  

The IRC will be joined by Su Kim, for a Zoom Q&A on April  7 at 6 PM. 

Hunger Ward | April 14 | 6 PM  

The film bears witness to the unfolding tragedy with a cinematic eye, deepening empathy for the people and increasing our awareness of the significant civilian suffering resulting from the current conflict. Photo: Skye Fitzgerald

Synopsis: Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, Hunger Ward documents two women health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. HUNGER WARD provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine.

The IRC will be joined by Skye Fitzgerald, for a Zoom Q&A on April 14 at 6 PM. 

From Baghdad to the Bay | April 21 | 6 PM  

“From Baghdad to The Bay, above and beyond its artistry and excellent storytelling, is an important tool for teaching and expanding understanding, particularly within cultures, environments and families that have not come to terms with the extraordinary diversity we humans evidence, particularly with respect to the gender and sexuality continuum beyond binary.” - Sasha Soheili

Synopsis: In this profound documentary, we follow the journey of an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the US military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, tortured by the military, and ostracized from his family and country, Ghazwan Alsharif struggles to create a life for himself in the the Bay Area of California while navigating his identity as an openly gay man. FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY takes a look at the intersectional struggle of being an asylum seeker in the United States and a member of the LGBTQ+ community at a time when both face persecution. 

The IRC will be joined by Erin Palmquist, the film's director, and Ghazwan Alsharif, for a virtual Q&A on April 21 at 6 PM. 

He's Still Fast | April 28 | 6 PM 

Follow Ethiopian refugee and IRC client, Tolassa Elemaa, as he pursues his life long dream of competitive running.

Synopsis: This film follows Tolassa, who was an elite runner in Ethiopia before being thrown into prison for speaking out against human rights abuses against his ethnic group in Ethiopia. 12 years later, he is a newly resettled refugee in Dallas, Texas, seeking to compete in a half marathon. This film follows Tolassa’s first year in America, as his ambition to race and compete takes him all the way to the New York City Marathon. In his pursuit he finds more than just a race -- he finds himself a community. 

The IRC will be joined by the film's director, Andrew Holzschuh, for a Zoom Q&A on April 28 at 6 PM. 


Questions? Email us at Nicky.Walker [at] Rescue.Org (subject: Refugee%20Film%20Festival)

Funds raised through this event will support the work of the IRC in Phoenix. 

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.