From the Dark
a film by Gemma Lynch and Filippo Tommasoli
production 5e6 film



A photographic workshop for Ezidi refugee children in a camp of Kurdistan explores how hope and imagination can emerge from war and trauma.


Bajed Kandala is a camp for displaced persons in north Iraq close to the borders of Syria and Turkey. Everyday is an endless struggle and total lack of adequate facilities and resources. Then there is the boredom; a limbo of endless days leading to an unsure future is all to be found on the horizon. For four long years each day passes in the same way; wake up, eat, stay in the tent, eat again, sleep and do it all over again. Each day is somewhere between living and surviving but never moving forward.

These children have a total lack of space for their imagination, with safe places to play.
Spaces where at least sometimes, they can forget the camp and just be a kid. One day, a group of foreigners arrive at the camp carrying peculiar equipment and objects the kids have never seen before. Tin cans, strange paper, chemicals in bottles. They build a darkroom in an unused shed in the camp. They start teaching pinhole photography. What seems to be a simple empty can has magically become a homemade camera. The kids learn how a seemingly blank piece of paper can transform into a black and white photograph, an image that is surreal and powerful. It doesn’t take long for the kids to realise the potential of this new found-creative freedom. They can tell their stories and share the reality of their world. They have the most powerful tool a child can have in their hands, imagination.



About Red Lab

RedLab is a photographic laboratory which aims to let to explore self-expression and self-narration to improve mental and emotional health in community who have suffered from traumas, as well as to promote an emotional health environment.
Adolescent youth from Yezidi population have been often exposed to multiple traumas and, most often, they didn’t have the instruments to processing thoughts, feelings, or real plans for their own future after the displacement from Sinjar.
By the time most children enter in the Internal Displaced Persons Camps, they have already been exposed to a wide range of painful and distressing experiences, many of which remain unknown and unreported during the permanence.
These traumatic stressors include violence, poverty, homeless and the relative disorientation. Indeed, those may have both short-and long-term consequences for the child’s mental, physical, emotional health, and life trajectory. RedLab works for guarantee healthy instruments to respond to those needs. Promoting a health environment is fundamental especially for people living in stressful conditions, and for whom have already suffered of trauma or are or have been in contact with traumatised persons. Group-based daily activity benefits for a health and emotional health environment.
RedLab is a community-based project where each activity is characterised to be group-based. The laboratory is founded on team building, creative comparison, self and creative expression and intercultural encounter. Activities are specifically planned through team-building and group empowering methods. Finally, the goal of Red Lab is facilitating people who are living stressful situation a creative outlet, together with the expression of the self and personal meanings, as well as discovering and improving new skills.



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