• Interviews

Podcast Golden Globes Around the World: FilmAid & Refugee Filmmaker Noel Bol

Over the past 18 years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has donated over $1.375 million to the non-profit organization, FilmAid. But in all that time, I confess I was woefully ignorant about the work they did outside their more-publicized feel-good screening program that brings joy and education into refugee camps around the world.

In this episode of our Golden Globes Around the World podcast, I heard about their impressive training programs in journalism and filmmaking from someone whose life was transformed by them. Noel Bol is a 27-year-old South Sudanese refugee who has been living at Kakama refugee camp in Kenya since he was two years old. It’s moving to listen to Noel talk about the skills he attained after joining FilmAid’s Media Hub as a multimedia trainee in filmmaking and he was trained in journalism at the Sikika community media project organized by FilmAid with support from DW Akademie. Now, he’s close to opening his own studio, thanks again to FilmAid’s support in providing lighting and equipment for him to use.

“If there was no FilmAid, where would I be right now?” Noel asks at one point. “Where would my dream of becoming a filmmaker – when I was in primary school acting in dramas – where would I get the chance to touch that dream? Where would I get the chance to know how to make stories about other people? You don’t want to imagine FilmAid doesn’t exist.”

Asked to name his favorite film brought into the camp by FilmAid, Noel doesn’t hesitate. “Wakanda,” he grins on zoom from the FilmAid office, referring to the 2018 Marvel blockbuster, Black Panther. “That film has really been helping me and giving Africans the hope of believing in themselves.”

Which leads Noel to admit he has an even bigger dream. “I’ve always wanted to one day see myself in the credits of a big film like Black Panther; being one of the people who’s done something in a project like that,” he says. Let’s hope Ryan Coogler is listening to our podcast too!