A rare crowdfunding ask of the community: please help Fridoon.
Hello my dear loves.
Greetings from Bearsville, New York.
My heart is so tired, and I’m getting the feeling that yours are, too.
So tired, and so full. Not nearly enough hours to Process, much less Get Done. Juggling. It’s fine.
But here we are.
Tired, and surviving, and full, and confused, and all doing what we can to get from one moment to the next.
I’m about to crack into the Althing – I have much more to say – and finish up work for the month, and I considered just pasting this into the Althing…but I think it needs its own post. I’ve never made a specific post and plea like this…so take me seriously. You know I only ask when it’s important.
I want you to help me help Fridoon Joinda, an Afghan refugee and filmmaker I’ve met and worked with.
His GoFundMe, now at €1,210 of a €10,000 goal:
In the course of my career, I believe I have probably been asked to share over 5,000+ crowdfunding projects, art, medical, housing, albums, you name it….this is the dark side of being The Queen of Asking. It has been one of the most difficult bits of my career – juggling these asks and not wanting my social media feeds to become a running tap of ask ask ask asking on behalf of other people. Occasionally a crowdfunding project arises that is close to my heart, and I bring it to the community and make a Big Ask.
Fridoon – who I’ve worked with, see above still – is trying to raise €10,000 to complete his film studies, and in my humble opinion, his voice in this world as an artist is really fucking important. He’s already put out a few incredible short films about the being a refugee in brutal conditions, including a short film about two LGBTQ+ refugees in Athens.
In 2018, his film “Moria 35” was honored by Borderline-Europe and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He’s the Real Deal.
He’s just….amazing. And working with very little.
I met Fridoon when I was in Greece, on the island of Lezvos, right after Ash was born.
I was doing some work at the refugee camps there with a Dutch non-profit called Because We Carry and Fridoon was introduced to me by Cookie – someone near and dear to me from the UK dolls/AFP community (many of you, esp in the UK, know Cookie, they’ve been a fixture in the London/Brighton dolls/AFP scene for ages).
(me and Cookie in Lesvos, after a really long hilarious adventure across Lesvos tracking down my stolen phone which I swear to god I have to tell you about one day)
Cookie said: “You have to meet Fridoon. He’s an artist.” Fridoon was living at that time in the infamous Moria camp on Lesvos. The conditions were appalling.
So I did what I do. While I was there on the island, getting to understand the refugee situation (and god was it complicated), Fridoon grabbed a camera and some friends of his, and we worked together to take some footage (here are some stills) that we have yet to edit into a finished film project.
With the help of this patreon, hopefully we’ll finish it up someday (life and time and then Covid waylaid this one, along with many other projects, sigh…what to do with all the Unfinished Project Footage of the past is one of the more painful sticking points in my life right now, and I’ll discuss that in tomorrow’s Althing).
But look. We did this, and someday, we’ll get it out:
(Me and Fridoon and the crew filming on Lesvos).
Life is real.
Doing this art-work on Lesvos, against the landscape of new motherhood, baby Ash, the incoming boats and What’s App groups around them, the people, the water, the deaths, the cutthroat and angry struggle between the locals, the local non-profits and the big charities, Fridoon’s long and painful horror story about how he made it to Greece – he was one of the lucky ones – it was all life-changing for me. It peeled my eyes open-er.
It’s one thing to read about it. It’s another to sit at a table with the humans – the artists – who are trying to make sense of this world and how horrific it can be. Fridoon shared his story with me.
I felt honored to work with him. I also promised to help.
Fridoon needs financial help to make ends meet, and he’s trying to raise dough to finish school, and he’s on the cliff edge.
This is a moment when this whole community can get together and help one single artist…someone I know, someone who I really think is worthy of helping.
I think his work and voice as a filmmaker in this collapsing world is critically important, and this community could make the difference in his ability to LIVE and WORK.
So, if you can….let’s help Fridoon. I just donated. Please reach into your pockets – even $5 would mean a lot, symbolically, if you can.
His Gofundme is HERE: https://gofund.me/128a98fa
I just posted it to social media and it’s already brought in more than €1,200 in under half an hour.
I’m so proud of my peeps.
And some words from Fridoon….
My interest in film and technology goes back years to growing up in Afghanistan. I started university in Kabul, studying computer science, but film was my great love. It was a perfect fit for me – I come from a family devoted to the arts and to politics. I started producing videos and soon I was working for a television station, learning many editing techniques I needed to deepen my skills.
That part of my life had an abrupt end, when I was forced to leave my country because of my previous political activities and because of the war. I left my family, my life, my dreams behind and began the dangerous journey to the west. I ended up in the notorious Moria camp in Lesvos for over a year. Luckily I finally made it to Athens where I was fortunate to receive a scholarship for refugees at the American College of Greece. This enabled me to continue my study of film and communication. Now I have only a year and a half left before I graduate.
My passion for film continues – over the past few years I won an award for one of my films from the UN-sponsored Youth Video Festival on Migration (I am not Dangerous) and was honored by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation for my film Moria 35. I have also produced films for a number of organizations and businesses. My constant theme is human rights, and my films have dealt with the overall situation of migration (Nice Lie, Moria 35) and with the individual experience of being a refugee (I am not Dangerous , Sonia, Ryan). The first of these treated the feelings of refugees in in Moria camp while dealing with violence against them; Sonia and Ryan told the stories of two LGBTQ+ refugees in Athens, their pride in themselves for who they are and for all the difficulties they have faced.
I recently had the experience of participating in a conference on the refugee experience: the 7th European Migration Forum on Youth Inclusion – Key to Successful Migrant Integration, run by the EU Economic and Social Committee. I was one of more than 200 participants, but the only refugee. My participation included a presentation for the panel on the public attitudes towards migrants and refugees.
My scholarship has been generous enough to allow me to make progress towards my BA degree – it has covered not just tuition, but also books and fees. I have, though, always held jobs to help me cover my living expenses – I have been lucky to find internships and short-term film assignments which allowed me to continue my studies. But having to work has put my graduation off longer than I had hoped.
I find myself, however, at a point now where I really need to focus on my studies and get my degree in the next year. I am so eager to begin my professional career, providing a voice for the voiceless and working to expand human rights. We are living in an intense time, facing many challenges, and I want to make my voice heard.
In addition to my own living expenses, I am also helping to support my family, all of them now refugees in India. I am asking for help in raising enough money to live on and support my family. I need 800 euros per month to make these expenses. I expect and hope to earn my degree in one year, so the total I am asking for is 9,600 euros.
Let’s do this, people.
One filmmaker. One voice. Let’s help.
In the words of beloved Paul Kelly:
From little things, big things grow.