NIRV Project Overview

New Immigrant and Refugee Voices
The New Immigrant and Refugee Voices (NIRV) project will capture the personal stories of new immigrants and refugees in Boston and will produce films relevant to the local and national dialogue about immigrant and refugee issues. CSFilm’s intention with this project is to train new immigrants and refugees to produce a collection of short films similar in quality, style and engagement-effectiveness to the Afghan-made films. CSFilm is looking to partner with Boston-based and national new immigrant and refugee organizations to accomplish the following:

  1. The training of 10 or more local new immigrants and refugees in documentary filmmaking with a focus on their community’s social and economic development stories. The trainees will each produce a short film during the course.

The central goal of NIRV is to produce films with an insider perspective on the often-unseen lived-realities of new immigrant and refugee communities. The training will also provide adult education through an innovative and participatory training approach that will begin to equip participants with employable skills that could lead to work in video journalism and documentary production. The diversity of participants will in itself serve to break down stereotypes and barriers between people of different ethnicities, leading to cross-cultural alliances and greater community cohesion.

2. Produce a collection of lived-reality short films that provide evidence of the capacity of new immigrants and refugees to self-determine the causes of and solutions to the challenges they face.

CSFilm seeks local and national partners who have a structural understanding of immigrant and refugee issues to ensure that the stories produced communicate timely and relevant issues. During the training, partners will present their issues and programs for potential use as topics to be covered by the films. Partners will also teach trainees the fundamentals of effective social and economic development practices.

The stories produced will provide a unique local perspective that raises awareness and stimulates dialogue. For example, the new immigrant and refugees’ stories could incorporate how individuals negotiate their paths in the United States. Although legalization issues are of great importance to the new immigrant and refugee communities there is also a need to discuss issues of integration into the host communities and the country as a whole.

The stories produced during NIRV could provide very unique views into cross-cultural challenges, resettlement issues, labor issues, health and healthcare issues, workplace exploitation, housing problems and obstacles, threats of deportation, stigmatization, and many other integration issues. In any case, the story focus will be determined in collaboration with the local and national partner organizations.

3. Present and distribute these films to foster dialogue and impact public perception and policy related to local and national issues.

The films produced during the training will provide a unique experiential tool for concerned citizens and “outsiders” to better understand the issues that new immigrants and refugees face.

Partner organizations are sought to help define and implement the engagement strategy. Partners will take the lead in the use of the films to organize a campaign of screenings and discussions through their local and national networks at the community, institutional and governmental level. The films should serve the defined campaign outcomes and be an integral part of the partner organization’s public education and policy programs. In addition the films will be made available to broadcast networks and the press to expand public dialogue.

Partners will collaborate with CSFilm on the production of discussion guides for organizers, educators and institutional gatekeepers, including police, employers, and social service providers. These tools will help to focus the intended outcomes of the discussions in town halls, classrooms, conferences, festivals, government meetings, etc.