Journeys into Film Supporting Journeys Festival through our Ignition Awards

Manchester's festival of refugee and asylum seeker art goes out into the community with a grassroots film programme.

Journeys into Film is the latest project from Journeys Festival International, Manchester’s annual celebration of creatives with lived experiences of forced migration and art exploring the refugee experience. For their new venture, the festival team are partnering with non-traditional cinema venues across the city to engage migrant and refugee audiences in their own communities.

The season, supported by Film Hub North’s Ignition Awards, has been devised by Journeys’ new Community Film Programmers Mandla-Rae Nkomo and Reba Martin with a focus on stories of belonging, migration, education and women’s empowerment. For an insight into the work that went into the season, take a look at their programming journal and their report from the This Way Up conference. There, they unpack their approach to finding narratives that are neither tokenistic or fatalistic, and how they developed an affordable, accessible programme of film in collaboration with organisations supporting asylum seekers in Manchester.

Key steps made following Journeys' consultation with refugee support organisations included operating all screenings on a "pay what you can" basis, covering travel expenses for asylum seekers and adopting English as a unifying language, with a commitment to presenting all films with English subtitles.

The films themselves - chosen in collaboration with partners like Revive, City of Sanctuary, MAC Fest and Screen32 - reflect the range of connections established through Journeys into Film and the various conversations the programme aims to start within communities. A pair of documentaries tell the stories of refugee women finding strength and self-expression in two different ways. Education is the driving force in He Named Me Malala, a portrait Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai; while the power of art is key in We Are Not Princesses, a moving documentary about a group of Syrian refugees in Beirut who stage a production of Antigone as a form of autobiography. Other screenings include crowd-pleasing British comedy Bhaji on the Beach and Kirikou and the Sorceress, a vibrant animation drawing on elements of West African folklore.

See the full programme

Journeys Festival International present Journeys into Film with support from our Ignition Awards. For more information on how we can help your next project, contact our team or visit our Exhibition Funding homepage.