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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, February 8 2019 7:30 AM UTC +00:00.

Neil P. GeorgeBy Neil P. George
First created
Neil P. GeorgeBy Neil P. George
First created
£631
pledged of £5,000pledged of £5,000 goal
12
backers
22days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, February 8 2019 7:30 AM UTC +00:00.

About

What are the films about?

'Our Journey' is a series of short experimental films that are inspired by the Yemen refugee issue on Jeju island. The films will be exploring the lives of several of the refugees currently living on Jeju, and their journey so far, talking about their lives before entering Jeju and after. We question the idea of several words that we all take for granted in our everyday life and what they mean to us all. Dreams, hope, struggle, family, passion, and life. These words often have very simple associations to us but to refugees, these words can cause fear, pain or sometimes delight. 

Since arriving on Jeju, between January and May 2018, the refugees have clearly found it difficult to integrate into the society but they are trying their best to fit in, and trying all they can to find some peace and a new place to call home after leaving their war-torn country. The initial reaction from the South Korean people was to petition the government to deport them, which was quite shocking but not surprising. As time went on the reaction slowly dropped but there are still a lot of people not willing to accept them based on little or no information about why they came here in the first case. 

The refugees, unable to return to Yemen due to the civil war, for fear of death and potentially being enlisted into the fight they are now spending their time in search of a new place to call home. But is their idea of home a place of beauty or is it something as simple as having a place to rest their heads without fear?

The series will be between 4-5 short films, depending on how much funding we receive. We have already received sponsorship from the UNHCR to assist in creating the films and are now hoping to gain more in order to keep filming the series.

What is the significance of the Yemen refugees? 

As you are all aware the Yemen war has been raging on for more than 3 years now and in fact, Yemen has never really settled since after the North/South divide in the 1990s. So, for people to understand the refugee issue they must understand Yemen and the current situation it is going through. I decided to start by writing several articles (links below) about the situation, and from these articles came the teaser and the concept behind the films. From that came the partnership with the UNHCR, so now I hope that we can generate more partnerships and donations so we can share the stories of the refugees and raise more awareness about what is happening in Yemen and the issue surrounding refugees!

Article 1 - Paradise Lost: 

https://www.neilpgeorge.com/blog/2018/11/24/paradiselost2

Article 2 - 3 days that changed my life: 

https://www.neilpgeorge.com/blog/2018/11/24/3daysthatchangedmylife

Article 3 - Re-born

https://www.neilpgeorge.com/blog/2018/12/21/re-born-the-journey-to-find-my-freedom

What are the films about? (all the films are based on true stories).

1. A HOPEFUL DREAM

A hopeful dream depicts the life of a young boy, narrated by his elder self, as he talks about his hopes and dreams for his future. After witnessing his country torn apart by the war he dreams of a place he longs to call paradise. Will he ever be able to find what he is searching for?

2. HOPE 

Hope, depicts the life of a young Yemeni man who is searching his way through life after leaving Yemen due to the war and trying to find his own path to help others. He only has one dream, to help others, especially the people of his country. But at the moment he must try and find a place to call home, so he can start his journey once again before being able to help.

Screen grab from the film 'Hope'
Screen grab from the film 'Hope'

3. MY FAMILY 

My family shows the life of a young family recently granted a visa and permission to live in South Korea. We explore their daily struggles as a family, just trying to fit into a new place, make a new start for themselves, all whilst the war in their home country continues to rage on. 

4. PASSION

Passion looks at the life of a young refugee who is a trainee kick-boxer. Already taken part in many competitions around the world, including the Asian Games in Korea, 2013, and like many others, he is living in wait on his future but whilst waiting he continues to train and fight with his passion for the sport.

Screen grab from the film 'Passion'
Screen grab from the film 'Passion'

5. LIFE GOES ON 

Life goes on will show the resettlement of a refugee, who is now settled into their new life (based in Korea). We will revisit what initially brought them to Korea and then talk about how they have adapted to life here and what the future holds for them.

Screen grab from the film 'Hope'
Screen grab from the film 'Hope'

What has happened so far? 

When we first started this project we were just using our own money in to find out more information about the issue and to fly to Jeju in order to meet some of the refugees. After meeting with several of them over a couple of days it became apparent that no-one was really wanting to tell their stories, just have some basic interviews with them in order to publish some news in the local media. We felt that this wasn't enough and that if people are to truly understand both them and the Yemen situation someone had to give them a voice. This is why we decided to do produce a series of films. I produced the teaser, "Paradise Lost" on my return to Seoul and after receiving some positive feedback I decided to reach out and see if there was any potential funding available.

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I decided that I would try to reach out to a few NGO's and the UNHCR to see if they can help could help and we were very fortunate that the UNHCR took great interest in the project and decided to partly sponsor it. However, the budget is quite limited and this is why we are now turning to ask for some extra help from you. 

Since then we have been back to film one of the films and plan on returning again very soon to film more. Obviously, it costs money to do all the necessary traveling, organizing and shooting of the films. And so, this is why we are asking for your help.

What can you do? 

I hope that you can help support us in raising more awareness about what is happening in Yemen, through the voices of these refugees. I am a firm believer that being able to have open dialogue and discussion about this issue is the starting point for understanding and with understanding comes empathy. We cannot understand unless we hear their voices and so the most important thing is to create these films, giving them a much-needed place to voice their views, ideas, and hopes for the future. Please donate as much as you can afford and also share this project with friends, family and others who can help support us!

BTS from the film 'Hope'
BTS from the film 'Hope'

Why do we need your generous donations?  

We are in the planning and pre-production stages of 2 of the films, having already completed a teaser and almost completed the film, Hope. There are essential parts of each story that we need to recreate, and we need to fly back and forth between Seoul and Jeju in order to do this. We also need to make sure to eat in between takes and as many of you are aware creating films is a long process and it takes time and money to make them a success. Having the extra funds will help significantly with the production and allow us more time and less stress in the process.

One of the main aims is to create a series of films that can help people to understand what the refugees have been through, and this takes time and patience, so we know the stories we are sharing represent them properly. Once completed we then also need to get the films out so people can actually watch them, whether through film festivals or online platforms. This also takes time and money to do successfully and so the more fund we have available the more chance we have of sharing these films with the world.

What is left to do?  

So far we have planned 4 of the films and are now organizing schedules for shooting. We have funding in place to produce some of them but not enough funding to complete the full list. So, we are now reaching out to raise a little extra money so we can complete the series. Once completed we will need to edit, color grade, create the music and of course promote them. This all doesn't come cheap but luckily we have the backing of the UNHCR, who will be doing a lot of publicity and promotion of the initial 3 films. So, we will push the other 2 films to be produced with them as well, which means as a series they will become compelling and interesting stories about the refugees that can help to highlight what they have been through and are currently going through as they try to rebuild their lives.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read our project and we thank you in advance for supporting us.

About the filmmakers.

Director: Neil P George is a producer and director, raised in Exeter, England and has been living in South Korea since 2011 teaching film production and producing documentaries related to Korean society and human rights issues. 

After moving to Korea I became even more interested in Korean society and its culture and found a passion for human rights filmmaking. I produced the award-winning film, ‘While they Watched’ (2014/15), a film about North Korean defectors and after this I went onto to co-direct and produce the film, ‘Beyond the Picture; The story of Sohn Kee Chung’, a film about Sohn Kee Chung, the marathon runner who won the 1936 Berlin Olympic gold medal and the only gold medalist, to date, to never hear his own national anthem played whilst standing on the podium. After completing this in late 2015 I went onto produce and direct the award-winning documentary, ‘After the Sewol’ (2016), a documentary about the Sewol ferry tragedy and spent over 3 years working on ’After the Sewol’ and ‘Crossroads’, my latest 2 films related to the Sewol tragedy.  

After learning about the Yemen refugee issue I turned my eye to find out more about what was happening and after meeting them and talking with the UNHCR I decided to undertake a series of films and a documentary that can allow the refugees to have a voice.

Producer: Hankyul Kim was born in Ansan, South Korea and is an independent filmmaker and an activist based in Korea. He worked as an Assistant Director in YeonDoo Jung’s (a media artist) “Handmade Memories”, Chief media director in Travel University and numerous commercial projects. He was working on a personal documentary project about Korean politics and safety issues before producing his first feature-length documentary “CROSSROADS”, a film about the Sewol ferry tragedy that happened back in 2014. 

He has turned his attention to the Yemen refugee issue as well as other social issues within Korea.

Extra media:

Neil was recently interviewed by KBS World Radio in regards to the films. You can see the interview here:

To see some of our previous work, check out some trailers below:

Crossroads trailer: 

 After the Sewol trailer: 

Risks and challenges

Due to the sensitivity of this project, it is very difficult to raise any donations within Korea, so we are looking to the international community to help us out. The refugees here haven't voiced their concerns, fears, or worries since moving to Jeju because they fear the backlash from the local people. We want to give them the opportunity to do this through our films, which may well cause some issues but in the long term, I believe it will be vital for people to understand them and empathize.
We are very appreciative to have the support of the UNHCR in making the films, but unfortunately, they just don't have the budget available to fully fund the project. This is one of our biggest concerns but we will do our best to gain support from people like you, who can not only help us by donating but in turn, will help the refugees in expressing themselves.

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