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  • Karla Uriarte

BAFTA and Counterpoints Arts to Host Hassan Akkad Lecture for Refugee Week

BAFTA and Counterpoints Arts have joined forces to announce an upcoming event in celebration of Refugee Week. The event will feature a public screening of the short film "Matar" by Syrian documentary filmmaker and activist Hassan Akkad, followed by a lecture from Akkad himself. The screening and lecture will take place on Friday, June 23.

"Matar," co-written and directed by Hassan Akkad, tells the story of a Syrian asylum seeker living on the fringes of society in England. The film, released this year, highlights the challenges faced by refugees and aims to shed light on their experiences. It is produced by Deadbeat Film and distributed by WaterBear. Hassan Akkad is an acclaimed filmmaker, creative director at refugee advocacy organization Choose Love, and has worked on notable projects such as Netflix's "Convergence: Courage in a Crisis" (2021) and the associate production of Netflix film "The Swimmers" (2022). He gained recognition for his participation in the BAFTA-winning documentary series "Exodus: Our Journey to Europe" (2016), which documented his own three-month journey from Syria to the UK as a refugee. The collaboration between BAFTA and Counterpoints Arts marks the beginning of a series of public events focused on authentic storytelling of refugees on screen. These events aim to highlight the importance of collaboration with creators who have firsthand experience of migration to build narrative power and foster social change. Hassan Akkad expressed his excitement about sharing his journey and experiences, from being a contributor in a documentary to becoming a director. “It has been an extraordinary path of self-discovery and growth, and I am grateful to BAFTA for offering me a platform to bring my perspective to the forefront.” He hopes that his lecture will contribute to redefining the narrative landscape, particularly regarding stories of migration and displacement, and open the door to a more inclusive and empowering industry that respects the agency and dignity of all individuals. Mariayah Kaderbhai, Head of Programmes at BAFTA, is pleased about the collaboration with Counterpoints Arts and the opportunity to explore the representation of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers on-screen. The event series aims to deepen public understanding and create a platform for authentic storytelling, from the conception of ideas to their portrayal on screen. Additionally, BAFTA and Deadbeat Film will organize "Introduction to Filmmaking" workshops to provide asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants with opportunities to enter the film industry and share their stories with integrity and authenticity. BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, is a renowned independent arts charity that supports creative talent, while Counterpoints Arts promotes diverse representations of displacement and migration. Deadbeat Film, a London-based production company, will also collaborate on the educational sessions and work placements for participants.

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