Giada Ferraglioni & Sergio Colombo Interview 06/09/2023

Dear Giada and dear Sergio, your documentary Dreaming Europe is an honorable mention at MSFF. Congratulations! Can you tell us how the project got started?

First of all, we really want to thank the MSFF for giving the honorable mention to Dreaming Europe. We, as journalists, are very grateful for having the chance to shine a light on refugees here in Italy again.

As everybody probably remembers, last February at least 94 people, including children, died in a terrible wreck near Cutro, in Calabria Region. The boat set out from Çeşme, in the Izmir province, and this will be remembered as one of the worst tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Due to the political and humanitarian aftermath of the wreck, we decided to go and meet refugee people in Izmir. Our purpose was to give a name and a face to their stories. Maamoun, Moussa e Abdulkadir, the main characters of our documentary, let us in their homes and in their lives in a way that we could never imagine.

During our stay in Turkey, we had the chance to see and tell other stories, like the reportage we made in Nurdağı, in the Gaziantep province, one of the hardest-hit districts by the February earthquake.

The title ‘Dreaming Europe’ is quite significant, and it already partly explains the content of your product. The question that naturally arises for us is: what enriched you most during the filming process? And how much distance is there, currently, between dream and reality in the context you have narrated?

This is a crucial point for us. Too often, in Italy, we refer to refugees as numbers. Newspapers and talk shows are used to focusing on the rise or the drop in arrivals of refugees over a certain period of time, but in most cases, they are not interested in telling the stories of those people and do not consider their traumas as something that is even worth a headline.

In Izmir, we saw dozens of children going through physical therapy due to the injuries they suffered during the war or while fleeing from Syria. We talked to them, to their parents, and to their physiotherapists. It was an extremely intimate moment. Those scenes remind us that we’re talking about real wounds and real pain, not just about figures. We believe that highlighting this issue would definitely help change the narrative about refugees, in Italy as well as in other countries.

We all experience some kind of physical pain over the course of our lives. Seeing with our own eyes other people suffering, and hopefully healing, can help us empathize with them, and understand the pain that some kind of political discourse and news outlets intentionally ignore, or even exploit.

Are there any other stories you plan to tell in the future? If so, which ones?

We would like to have the chance to keep working with migrants and refugees. With people who fled their homes because of the war, persecutions or climate disasters. We’ll soon start working on a project about women refugees, who suffer the hardest consequences of forced displacement. We are used to recounting the migrations from the perspective of young men – which is dramatic – but that’s not the whole story. Just like the invisible kids we met in the recovery center of Izmir, there are women who experience systematic abuses that are not being told.

Thank you for your kindness and care in dealing with such important issues. We are really happy to have welcomed you to our festival. Reminding everyone that your documentary will be shown In the next season of MSFF as the jury’s choice, we want to ask you have one last question: Is there a message or sentence that you think would be meaningful and related to the product that you would like our readers to read and make their own?

We would like to quote two sentences. The first one is from the documentary itself. While talking about his hopes for the future, Maamoun says: “I just want to live like a human, not like a slave”. Each of us, in his own small way, has the duty to make it happen.

The other one is from Camus’ poem “L’Été” (“The summer”). It goes: “In the midst of winter / I found there was, within me, / an invincible summer”.

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