A Week in the Life of a Refugee Assistance Organization
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- Human Rights, Contemporary Issues, and Essay
The film was made about the country programme of the UN Refugee Agency in Azerbaijan at the time of filming, and is made up of ten what could be called ‘vignettes’, or profiles of individual projects. Taken together these project portraits aim to give a good representation of what a fairly typical operation to support peoples displaced by violent conflicts would be like anywhere in the world.
In this sense, the film is more like a ‘jigsaw puzzle’, the individual pieces of which, when put together, give the viewer a complete picture of what the film hopes to communicate, than a story with a main protagonist’s journey, separate acts, and a central conflict.
The film’s action starts early on Monday morning and continues through to Friday afternoon. During each day of the working week, two projects are presented. One is in the morning, and the other is in the afternoon.
- Show treatment
The vignette for each project starts with a paused screen with the title of the project backed by the first scene of the section. Each vignette ends with a frozen screen shot of the final frame of the section, which gradually fades out before the next piece begins. The next vignette then starts in the same way. In this way. different projects are clearly separated.
It should be noted that during production, a balance was deliberately struck for gender, age, rank, nationality, and ethnicity as far as was possible. Further, locations, project staff and beneficiaries are almost entirely different for each project. As a result, each vignette of the film is visually very varied.
The approach taken by the film includes narration backed by appropriate shots with natural sound from each shoot location that help tell the story. Each section also features at least one interview with relevant personnel filmed in the environment of the project being profiled. There are also a several pieces that partially take an observational approach.
It is hoped that this visual approach gives the film a compelling, dynamic feeling of an organization at work and is very also very watchable.
I welcome any feedback at all on any aspect of the film that could help make the film better from people with a proven track record in documentary.
However, when doing so, please take into consideration the following:
• This was my first film, and this version of the film was made over ten years ago pretty much without any kind of outside support or mentoring.
• When I see it now, I would have more information conveyed through interview and observation than by voice over.
• For the final version, I plan to make changes to the voice over to make it not time and location specific, and not stating the national identities of the refugees.
• In the final version of the film I intend to do a more 'upbeat' and compelling sounding voice over.
• The feel of the film as it is at present is more like a ‘jigsaw puzzle’, the individual pieces of which, when put together, give the viewer a complete picture of what the film hopes to communicate, than a story with a main protagonist’s journey, separate acts, and a central conflict.
• Do you think there is any way the film could be reworked to include the following eight classical story telling elements?:
1. A protagonist
2. An antagonist
3. A desire
4. An inciting incident
5. A journey
6. A crisis
7. A climax
8. A resolution
- in post-production
- Running time
- 30 and 24 minutes
- Symon Lord ... Director, Writer, Producer
- Prod. Co.
- Symon Lord Productions
- United Kingdom
- Years of Production
- Release year
- The film does not currently have a distributor. I would be interested to know if readers think it might be possible to find one
- Russian, English, Azeri
- The film has subtitles
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