Is there Hope for ‘Hope House’?

is there hope for hope house croatian documentary new neighbours

Good intentions are not enough to conquer fear and prejudice. This is the bitter morale of “Hope House”, the Croatian documentary by HRT and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group part of the New Neighbours series. Whereas Mihal Kreko, a Baptist pastor actively involved in solidarity initiatives, believes that “integration is a two-way street”, local residents are against the project of turning an abandoned building into a community centre for refugees. Clearly distinct world views clash during an attempted neighbourhood mediation – on one side the real-life testimonies of ‘well integrated’ asylum status holders, on the other a strong distrust in “cultures and religions radically different from ours”.

What is most striking is how individual encounters and mutual acceptance are not sufficient to convince residents of the value of providing fast support to asylum holders through language and citizenship education. HRT’s team followed events as they unfolded: the renovation was stopped, and the future of the House is uncertain. 

Award-winning director and cinematographer Nebojsa Slijepcevic, HRT’s senior editor and producer Daniela Drastata and production manager Ana Saronja decided to tackle the hottest immigration topic in Zagreb – the case of Hope House – to showcase the complexity of integration.

Following protagonists for a long period of time, getting them to say things they usually hide, achieving that fine balance between facts and emotions that television produces; those were the demands the authors had to meet.”, comments Daniela Drastata, who is also the executive co-producer of the entire New Neighbours series.

You can watch “Hope House” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu

For better, for worse, in sickness and in health

For better, for worse, in sickness and in health The Flat New Neighbours

Filmed in 2019 well before the COVID emergency, the documentary film “The Flat” by NTR and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group is a lesson in solidarity and support between neighbours – old and new. We can’t help but wonder what has happened to the individuals and families portrayed in the film, many already struggling with complicated situations or special needs. But we can all learn from Evert, one of the protagonists, who is confined to a wheelchair and dependent on the help of others: “The most important thing is to make your life matter. Not just to yourself, but to others too.” 

The apartment building of the Dutch New Neighbours documentary is located in a small town near The Hague. People from different cultures and religions try to find ways to help each other, and in this challenge are being assisted by a coach. The “flat coach” knows everyone in the building and works as a mediator and facilitator of new networks and contacts – be it for a weekly coffee get-together, a language tandem or the lifesaving help that Evert needs. 

Frans Jennekens, New Neighbours Executive Co-Producer and a pioneer of inclusion and diversity in Dutch and European public service media, comments: “(…) This complicated process of integration, of withdrawal and acceptance, is filmed within the microcosmos of ordinary people, in ordinary houses in ordinary streets. I hope the series will give an insight that will be recognized by many viewers.” 

The Flat” is ultimately a reminder of why human beings have mostly chosen to live in communities and of what constitutes the quality of meaningful relationships – for better, for worse, in sickness and in health. 

You can watch “The Flat” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu

Building Bridges – Across Soundproof Walls

Building bridges across soundproof walls new neighbours documentary

In a changing neighbourhood near Barcelona, locals and newcomers are navigating cultural and religious differences. “There are few of us left, born and raised here”, comments a shopkeeper in the documentary film by RTVE and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group. A comment we hear over and over in many European cities, though not often followed by the remark “Yes, people have changed, but in the end, they are not so different”, as Miguel says in “On the Other Side”.  

Initially, Miguel was not enthusiastic about his new neighbours – he lives next door to the mosque of the Islamic centre “Camí de la Pau” and for months he was calling the police to complain about the noise coming from the main prayer room. Two years later, with the dividing wall made soundproof, relations have evolved to a respectful and careful coexistence. 

Saima, one of the most active Pakistani women in the centre, also had to discover how to live between cultures and build a new sense of home. Together with other neighbours committed to intercultural and interreligious dialogue, she engages to open the doors of the mosque and make Iftar a neighbourhood celebration.  

You can watch “On the Other Side subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu 

NEW NEIGHBOURS shows us that women can change the world

After the South of Italy, Germany and Slovenia, the New Neighbours journey takes us to Belgium with “Danielle’s Choice”. Belgian film director Safia Kessas followed an extraordinary woman who opened her house to refugees. Why Danielle?

“Because despite obstacles, she follows her choices to the end, she is an active citizen who resists”, says Safia.

Danielle – because the most welcoming people are women and in Europe they are the ones we see on the screen the least. Danielle – because she is a strong, courageous and determined woman who shows us the human face of migration.

Co-produced by the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group and RTBF, the documentary tells her story as she joins a platform of volunteers helping new refugees find accommodation and get on their feet. But in the process, Danielle’s own family is left feeling forgotten. How can she reconcile her need to be a part of her own family, while creating a new one?

Danielle’s Choice had its premiere at the Centre for Fine Arts Bozar in Brussels on the occasion of the World TV day in November 2019. After the festival “Elles tournent” in January and the “Millenium” festival in March, the film was selected in April of this year for the ONE Country ONE Film international film festival as the only representative for Belgium in the short film category. Each year, one country is honoured, and several films are selected from that country. Since its creation in 2010, ONE Country ONE Film has selected 111 countries.

You can watch “Danielle’s Choice” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu

As our world seems to be falling apart, NEW NEIGHBOURS urges us to move “One Step Closer”

As our world seems to be falling apart, NEW NEIGHBOURS urges us to move “One Step Closer”

One Step Closer”, the third episode of the New Neighbours film series to be released online, holds a small surprise and teaches us that happiness can take a long and winding road, even if you’ve never left your home country. Co-produced by the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group and RTV Slovenia, the documentary follows a Kurdish family of six in their encounters with the new Slovenian neighbours.

According to the film director Jernej Kastelec: “We get the impression that the locals and the newcomers don’t have much reservations or prejudice, but also that neither of them needs closer contacts. To leave the safety of their inner social circle and make an effort to make new acquaintances – this was a challenge for the neighbours from both sides of the fence, and for us of course!

The Hasan Khalils had a good life in Syria. Romat was a childcare worker and her husband Ismail was a tailor. When the war broke out, they had to flee with their two children to save their lives. They left everything behind: their family, house, friends…  They have been on a journey without a known destination for eight years – Iraq, Turkey, Greece. During that time, two other sons were born. They have lived in Slovenia for the past three years and built their new lives there. 

Their Slovenian neighbour, Zinka, explains that many people from the city have moved to the village in recent years. She tells us that they have no problems with the new Syrian neighbours. She confirms that they don’t know each other and have only fleeting encounters. This can stay unchanged for an unknown period of time, since Slovenes mostly don’t establish more profound ties with neighbours. But Zinka has a story of her own to tell…

You can watch “One Step Closer” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu 

From Damascus to Berlin, NEW NEIGHBOURS documents an extraordinary friendship

Across the road worlds apart New Neighbours Documentary

The New Neighbours journey takes us from the ghost town of Sutera, Sicily, to the metropolis of Berlin and its new Syrian residents. “Across the Road – Worlds Apart” by EBU-DW pays tribute to the unforgettable life of Eva Sternheim-Peters and documents her friendship with Syrian refugee Amer Kassab. 

At the age of ten Mrs Sternheim-Peters joined the league of German Girls, the girl’s wing of the Nazi party’s youth movement. She afterwards recognised the horror of the movement and spent her life welcoming people from all around the world in her apartment. Her last “roommate” was Syrian refugee Amer Kassab. The film follows Amer as he visits a German pub frequented by local regulars opposing Muslim newcomers. Will the encounter with Amer shift their views?

Dasa Raimanova, film director, recounts a memorable moment of the shooting:

During a severe heat wave in Berlin, together with our protagonists, Eva (94) and Amer (27), we visited the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. It was a harrowing experience, difficult to describe in words. While we were mostly worried about Eva managing in the heat, quite the opposite happened: Amer and the crew were melting while Eva kept going without complaining even once about the heat.

“Across the Road – Worlds Apart” had its premiere at the Centre for Fine Arts Bozar in Brussels on the occasion of the World TV day in November 2019. It is one of nine documentary films exploring real stories of daily life in an intercultural European Union, co-produced by the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group within the project New Neighbours. 

Eva Sternheim-Peters died in 2020 as one of the victims of the corona virus pandemic in Germany. The co-production team of the New Neighbours series is proud and grateful to have  managed to capture part of Eva’s life on camera.

You can watch “Across the Road – Worlds Apart” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu 

The NEW NEIGHBOURS film journey starts in Sutera

in the ghost town new neighbours documentary sutera italy migrants

The first of nine documentary films exploring real stories of daily life in an intercultural European Union launches today on the New Neighbours website. Co-produced by RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group, “In the Ghost Town” follows John and his family who arrive to Sicily from Nigeria and meet their local neighbour Franco. Their fragile relationship reveals how meeting one other is always the first step in breaking prejudices.

Situated at the foot of a mountain, Sutera in Sicily has no more than 1000 inhabitants, mostly elderly. Life in Sutera is tough: there are no jobs. And like many Sicilian towns, Sutera is a doorway and a gate to Europe for people who come from Africa. In 2013, after one of the deadliest migrant tragedies, Sutera’s municipality was asked to bury almost 400 victims. But Sutera’s cemetery was full, so the Major of the village decided to do something crucial for the living. Sutera became a new home of the survivors.

New Neighbours is the most recent piece in a puzzle of European projects and efforts carried out by leading international and national media and civil society organisations to promote responsible journalism and respectful dialogue amongst all members of society. Led by the European Broadcasting Union, the 24-month project runs until the end of 2020 and has produced the third edition of the documentary film series New Neighbours, involving 9 European Public Service Broadcasters from Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. The films explore real stories of new encounters between ‘locals’ and ‘newly arrived’ citizens, showing the complexities and richness of intercultural integration processes. In the development of the series, the broadcasters cooperated with local civil society and community media organisations in order to explore creative angles and ideas.

According to RAI’s chief editor and scriptwriter Daniela Attilini,

«New Neighbours is an incredible experience. Not only for the meaning of the documentary but also because co-productions are the future. I think that we must work together. To be European means to be a team, with all the differences and richness that it entails.»

You can watch “In the Ghost Town” subtitled in English here. All nine films will be made available one after another via www.newneighbours.eu

“In the Ghost Town” premiered on RAI3 on December 25, 2019, followed by three other episodes of the New Neighbours series. Residents of Italy can access episodes with Italian subtitles via RaiPlay at this link.

In a climate of increasing populism and disinformation, New Neighbours is collecting good practice and success stories on how to provide factual information on migration, as well as promoting direct participation of migrants and refugees in media production.

Alongside the PSM film productions, which build the heart of the New Neighbours project, a series of complementary productions, trainings and research activities are taking place, under the responsibility of the project partners CMFE – Community Media Forum Europe, COMMIT, COSPE Onlus and MDI – Media Diversity Institute.

New Neighbours is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and by the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

“New Neighbours” Official Trailer

The New Neighbours series tells moving and exciting stories of present-day Europe, from the picturesque Sicilian village of Sutera which refugees infused with new life to a smart Berlin neighbourhood where local pubs are largely closed to new neighbours, a Barcelona region with a 30% migrant population, where a Pakistani community found their new home and build their own mosque, and a Slovenian village where three Syrian families are introducing huge change. 

The series is being broadcasted in nine European countries. It will also provide food for thought at discussions and training sessions that will be held by New Neighbours project consortium partners. 

Individual trailers are available here.

RTV Cardedeu goes multilingual!

RTV Cardedeu, the oldest community radio and TV in Spain and the first Catalan TV worldwide, has started its very first multilingual/‘foreign language’ content thanks to New Neighbours! What a wonderful way to celebrate their 40th anniversary, happening this year.
Here you can hear Meryem and Hamza from Morroco talking in Arabic (“Maghrebi 100%”), and Kiemba from Senegal speaking Mandinga, Spanish and Catalan (“Bamtabakacha”), just click on the corresponding program tab: https://www.rtvc.cat/podcasts/.
We hope you enjoy, even if you understand just a few words.

A new interactive tool online for migration

The REMINDER project has recently announced Understanding Migration and Free Movement in the European Union, an interactive online tool based on their research findings.

The project is a large-scale attempt to address the full spectrum of social and economic consequences of migration within the European Union, outlining how this phenomenon is reflected in media, policy and public opinion around Europe. To investigate migration the project is divided into five major themes:

  • Numbers, What do we know about patterns of EU migration? Who is moving where, when, and why?
  • Impacts, What are the major impacts of intra-EU mobility? This section will present our research on the labour market and public service impacts.
  • Media, How has intra-EU mobility been covered by media outlets in Europe? What accounts for the different ways in which the topic is treated?
  • Attitudes, What do people in the EU think about free movement? What factors influence people’s views about this topic?
  • Governance, What are the major laws and regulations governing free movement in Europe? Are they adequate and how could they be improved so that free movement works for everyone?

The tool based on an interactive approach provides short summaries of some of their key findings, showing how different, seemingly unrelated factors within migration debates may affect each other. Choosing their own adventure way in discovering data on migration, users will thus be able to take their journey navigating the platform’s content in the order they prefer to.

Take your journey on the platform here.