(Re)presenting Refugees in Nonfiction Film: My Journey Towards A Participatory Approach

Abstract by Rand Beiruty

One of the first encounters in which I was personally confronted with ethical and moral obligations towards the film-participants I am trying to represent, was my animated-documentary “​Halfway”. I​ n​ ​portraying a Syrian family’s journey of fleeing their war-torn country, I was faced with ethical dilemmas that affected my choice of film form. Rather than using conventional observation and/or interviews, I chose to use animation, both as a way to protect the family’s identity and an artistic choice to best portray their journey. In this presentation, I take “​Halfway” as a departure point to my ongoing exploration of a participatory approach in nonfiction film, both as a practitioner and artistic researcher.