My First Time Home is a feature length documentary film about religious and gender tolerance, self-discovery and seeking ‘home’. The film looks through the eyes of three young Australian-Egyptians as they embark on the journey of visiting their country of origin, Egypt – some for the first time. The film explores how the youth, who are a mix of both Christian and Muslim, reconcile both their religious and gender differences, while exploring their sense of self. Through the interweaving of different characters and stories, the film provides a timely discussion of how religion and gender can connect us to our common humanity and our sense of home.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
Following recent massacres internationally, against both Christians and Muslims, Middle-Eastern youth need to unite now more than ever. By focusing on one Middle-Eastern community - Muslim and Christian Egyptian-Australian youth - the film aims to make a change at the level of the relationships within the Egyptian-Australian community and between the two religious communities, building power and unity in the community.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
My impact vision for this film is to unite Muslim and Christian Egyptian-Australian youth by changing minds and building community. It aims to make a change at the level of the relationships within the target community itself, who are Egyptian-Australian youth, building power and unity in that community. Without this community becoming stronger and understanding themselves better in their own right, no real change will ever be possible, for now or the future.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Short term outcomes include an attitude shift and increased knowledge towards the other religion. Medium term outcomes include religious bodies implementing more ecumenical forums. Long term outcomes include improved communication between religious members and institutions, and a measured increase in religious tolerance. The theory of change for this documentary is that my film can engage with Egyptian youth, through the eyes of their peers. By showing two traditionally divided communities in Egypt showing tolerance of the other on screen, it can create a cultural moment for the Egyptian community, and for other religious communities. It creates a space for peaceful forums to exist. My film can help revive an age-old issue of religious intolerance to a new generation and can inspire change by creating a new culture of tolerance. The impact hypothesis is the film will encourage migrant youth to reconnect with their homeland and with each other peacefully.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
Via the filmmaker's knowledge and lived experience of the community, impact activities will focus on event-based community and membership screenings, which will enable the film to offer additional context and solutions to the issue. This includes using the film as a training and teaching tool, alongside a discussion guide for the film, sparking discussion among people who do not usually connect. This can involve a panel discussion with the youth involved on issues that are relevant, and small group work. It will also be integrated into ongoing social media campaign work, screened at annual events/conferences within the Egyptian community, be part of a web resources to amplify the film’s impact and a social change campaign to ‘befriend the other’.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
The filmmaker has already established partnerships with youth groups and forums, both Christian and Muslim in the middle-eastern community. I also have support from community based organisations who are assisting me with mentorship, gear, resources and some financial means, including private donors from these communities and CuriousWorks.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
The actions I hope the viewer can take include attending an opposing religious event, engaging in informal gatherings with those of another religion, signing petitions for more ecumenical-based activities to go to religious leaders, downloading and implementing a web-based school program, hosting their own screening, supporting the social media campaign by liking and sharing it, engaging in public discourse surrounding the issue.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
The impact strategy will be tracked via an evaluation plan which will gather both quantitative and qualitative data and will measure whether the film meets its intended outcomes (these include measuring changed individuals awareness/knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, behaviours and shared standards within the community).