AMES Australia hosted the first screening of an inspirational new film about how a group of migrants found a common purpose and supported each other through the COVID-19 lockdown.
As part of Cultural Diversity Week celebrations. AMES Australia's Multicultural Hub, in partnership with the City of Melbourne, screened the premiere of 'Connecting Conversations: English classes during Covid-19'.
By April 2020, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was reaching its peak. To prevent further spread, AMES' face-to-face English conversation classes ceased, leaving many class members further isolated in a new city.
A class of about ten relatively newly arrived migrants and their volunteer English tutors had been meeting at the Melbourne Multicultural Hub. As the lockdown restrictions came in, they resolved to continue their classes virtually, meeting twice weekly over almost nine months.
Celebrated Iranian documentary film maker Ms Mozhgan Pazooki, a regular participant in the classes, decided to capture the positive impact of the online sessions on her classmates, their tutors and herself.
Filmed entirely remotely, Mozhgan's inspirational documentary film is a lasting tribute to the resilience, practical support and friendship shown by the group during a particularly challenging and unusual time.
AMES Australia Coordinator Innovation and Communications Ana Saul said the event was a great success.
“People found the film really interesting. It's a great record of how we lived through the COVID lockdown," Ana said.
She said the students featured in the documentary said they felt supported during classes and could see a great improvement in their English skills. The classes were also a way for students to feel motivated and make connections during the lockdown.
Mozhgan explained that it was a different experience to produce a documentary via zoom, without all the infrastructure that a movie production requires. Even though, she said it was important to share the experience and show others how important it is to feel supported and help others during difficult times
The reaction from the public was positive and there was a lot of interaction during the Q&A session.
This article was written and reviewed by AMES Australia Media Team.