The thought behind the project was people are so tuned out to refugees, how do you make people hear their stories, see them as real people not as something "other"?
By interviewing refugees and finding their most relatable moments of birthday parties and barbecues and wanting the best for their kids, and then having them voiced by actors you know and love, it provides the "thin end of the wedge" to getting someone to lower their prejudices and connect with someone very much like themselves.
Some videos were hand picked by Vanity Fair and featured on their site. All the stories are on the Oxfam International/America sites. Select pieces were translated into different languages and shown on the different regional Oxfam sites.
It is Oxfam's most successful campaign to date.
Executive Producer/Director/Writer: Julie Anne Robinson (The Middle, Selfie, Grey's Anatomy)
Co-Producer/Writer: Debra Matlock
Editor: Brad Grossman (Chef's Table, CNN The 90s)
Margot (SUICIDE SQUAD, I TONYA, WOLF OF WALL STREET) tells about being a law student and having leave everything behind. Robbie shares the story of a 17-year-old girl, who dreamed of going to law school but had to pack away her books and assignments after her college was bombed. “I want to defend the oppressed,” Robbie reads. The young girl, who had to escape her home for fear of being in danger, says she even misses the strict, mean English teacher in school: “After all, if she didn’t care about my education, she wouldn’t be so mean, right?” The girl says that while she never saw any women who were lawyers in her town, she knew, without a doubt that this was and still is her goal: “It is having no education that is very hard for me. I really would have liked to have continued my studies.”
“We used to rent a cottage by the sea,” Minnie (GOOD WILL HUNTING, SPEECHLESS) speaks as a stay-at-home mom whose family lost everything when their home was bombed. Now, she has to watch her smart children live daily without the chance to get an education in the camp. “I love my kids so much; they deserve better than this.”
Gael (MOZART IN THE JUNGLE, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) reads the account of a poet, now a refugee, who had a crush on a woman in his class. He wrote poetry for her but never told her. Once the two finally expressed their feelings for each other—with a few miscommunications in between—it became clear that the two, coming from different worlds, could never be a couple. “Most of the time, I let my mind roam,” he said. “Sometimes the mind can function, and it’s the heart that takes over. Some things belong to the heart.”
“We have nothing—no books, or pens, or papers for the kids, so I’ve developed my own way of teaching; I had to do it,” John (STAR TREK, HAROLD & KUMAR) reads of the story of a young teacher who still works to deliver lessons to his students in the refugee camps. He remembers a life in Syria where they had houses, hospitals, and schools. He dreams of a life once they return—a better life. “Even though you find us sitting on the floor, we are not like this. This is not us—to live in tents.”
“On our marriage day, I had a very beautiful wedding dress,” Anna (PITCH PERFECT, TRUE BLOOD) opens as she read the story of a woman whose husband died seven months after her wedding day. While living in a refugee camp, the woman had a dress made out of fabric she bought with her earnings as a wash coordinator. But even her dress is not her most favorite possession—on the very top is her jerry can for clean water. “Keeps your water safe and clean. You won’t be alive to wear a pretty dress if you don’t have clean water.”
Al (DAILY SHOW, HALF LIKE ME) reads a story of a man who inherited land from his father, built a house on it with his brother, and grew cherry trees on his land—until their home was bombed. “We were afraid we were all going to die down there—all of us, the whole family,” the man says of the night he and his family had to hide in the basement from harm. “We decided we can’t all die.”
A Grandmother tries to keep her grandchildren on track in the camp. But it's hard to keep them in a tent.
A Future Doctor tells us about what she likes and doesn't like. Spoiler: she doesn't like being a refugee.
Andrea (Black Mirror) speaks the story of a Syrian woman with a more comfortable life than most of us have: a lady who lunches, she had a villa and a boutique. She tells her story, shellshocked in a dusty tent in a refugee camp, having sold the last of her jewelry to pay for medical treatments for one of her kids. She's gone from having everything to nothing, confronted with the banality of her prior existence.