Refugees in Focus Film Festival to screen six documentaries starting tonight

The only heavy-metal band in Iraq. A charter school in the most diverse square mile in America. A letter written by a Maine mayor asking Somalis to keep out. Those are the subjects of three of the six documentaries to be screened at the three-day 2012 Refugees In Focus Film Festival, which starts at 6 p.m. today at Emily Griffith Technical College.

Sharon McCreary teaches English to refugees at Emily Griffith and is organizing the festival for the second year. "I came up with the idea last year because I was thinking that there are a lot of refugees in Colorado, and yet a lot of people have no idea who they are, why they're here and how they ended up here," she says.

Film is "a non-threatening way to learn about this particular subject," McCreary says. The target audience is Americans "who would like to know more about international conflict and how people survive it.

"We hope to foster discussion about this particular aspect of immigration and integration in our community, because there's a lot of it going on," she continues. "I think discussion is really what this is about. It's not about watching the movies and then leaving. I keep saying, 'Watch, think, discuss.' We're hoping people will carry on the discussion long after they leave."

The festival is free. Each night, two documentaries will screen in Room 123 at Emily Griffith. (The room is air-conditioned, McCreary notes.) Free popcorn and lemonade will be served, and there will be a Q&A session with Colorado refugees between films on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Flip the page to watch trailers of the films.

The Letter: An American Town and the "Somali Invasion" Tuesday, June 26, at 6 p.m.

A Place in the World Tuesday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m.

Home Across Lands Wednesday, June 27, at 6 p.m.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad Wednesday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m.

Pushing the Elephant Thursday, June 28, at 6 p.m.

The Last Survivor Thursday, June 28, at 7:45 p.m.

The Last Survivor Trailer from The Last Survivor on Vimeo.

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