Short film The Swimming Lesson captures a unique moment for refugee girls
- 18 March 2019
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Inspired by a set of photos of Muslim students in burkinis, The Swimming Lesson, a short film by filmmaker Elizabeth Rodgers, is a glimpse at young Muslim refugee girls as they take their first swimming lessons.
Rodgers was shown the photos of the burkini-clad students in a school swimming pool by a friend, Christian Lim, a councillor at Borah High School, Boise, Idaho, who invited Elizabeth to meet with the girls after school one day.
“They had only been in America for about a year and half at the time. I was this very strange person coming into their midst [saying], ‘This sounds like a great idea for a movie,’ and they were like ‘What are you talking about?’ You could just see that what I was saying sounded completely foreign,” Idaho Press quoted Elizabeth as saying.
Several interviews went into the script, which Rodgers showed the girls and two other students, Samara and Wadha, who also agreed to star in the film. Aheda Zanetti, the Australian-Lebanese woman who invented the burkini, also advised Elizabeth before finalising the script, and she provided burkinis the actors would wear during the shoot.
The film is showing at Filmfort with other short films at 11 a.m. on March 23 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Boise, Idaho.
After the March 23 screening at the Hilton Garden Inn, there will be a panel with Rodgers and the actors in the film: Afghan refugee Shukriya Chaman Shah, Syrian refugee Samara Alsalim, Iraqi refugee Wadha Al Ghazzi and Iranian Neekey Habibi.
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