As part of our efforts to shed light, raise awareness and mobilise support for the lived experiences of displaced youth, and in this case particularly the experiences of displaced Syrian youth in Jordan, we have been sending Learning to Swim to film festivals.
We believe engaging in discussions over the representation of displaced youth in as many contexts as possible is conducive to perhaps a more human representation of displacement - in policy circles, public spaces, but also in the world of film.
To that end, we applied Learning to Swim to the Saratov Sufferings documentary drama festival in Saratov, Russia. A few weeks after our application, we found out, to our delight, that the documentary was indeed part of the official selection of the festival, and were invited to head to Saratov for the festival.
A special screening of Learning to Swim was organised by the festival with social science and journalism students of Saratov State University. Here, the discussion mostly centred on the humanity of the experience of displacement, and we discussed how Learning to Swim does not necessarily follow a traditional documentary format, rather focuses on communicating the lived experiences of youth.
An award for Learning to Swim was neither an expectation nor a thought that crossed our minds. Indeed, we were delighted enough with the discussions we had and with the fact that the documentary was part of an official selection.
And then, Learning to Swim received the Special Prize given by the Saratov State University Studio.
We are delighted and grateful for the film world's recognition of the different, ethnographic-sociological approach and format through which Learning to Swim was created, and most importantly for their recognition of the importance of sharing the lived human experience of displaced Syrian youth in Jordan.
We believe in our mission to create awareness and empathy through film, and will keep on keeping on.