Why did we make this film?
We would like our film to spark a positive dialogue. We see negative stereotyping of people who leave troubled nations and seek refuge in the UK. We believe that the women in our film show resilience, humour, and enjoyment. Their stories speak of the strength of the human spirit in the face of extreme adversity.
What is it about?
Our hour-long documentary film features women who fled war, persecution and conflict in their home countries and wound up in the city of Brighton and Hove, in the UK. These inspirational women tell of fear, escape, survival, and the hope of finding a safe new life. The one thing they share is the pleasure of cooking - dishes and recipes they bring from their home countries. They have different backgrounds, beliefs, and national languages, but preparing food from their traditions and cooking together is a joyful new experience. Tradition and innovation combine in the kitchen as together they make a feast - a feast like no other.
Our leading characters are strong, vibrant women:
Reem is from Iraq. A radiant smile enlivens her face, but there is a flash of horror when she recalls the day a bomb ripped through the Baghdad office where she was working. It killed 18 people and left her with a twisted arm, the fingers numbed.
Dina, who escaped persecution in Egypt, lives on her nerves, waiting every day for a letter to tell if she and her family can stay in the UK.
Diala, who fled the horrors of war in Syria, waits to know if she is granted asylum.
Genet, Zainab and Makida, from Ethiopia, endured Kenyan refugee camps before they got the chance to come and start afresh in the UK.
Our film features these and other women who fled their homes thousands of miles away, and today live within a few miles of each other. We discover a melting pot of traditions and flavours when women get together to celebrate their international feast - in Brighton. Kitchens are fragrant and noisy with women's voices speaking in diverse languages. There is laughter, music, singing, story-telling. Women are chopping, pounding, stirring, boiling, baking. Herbs and spices are tossed and fried. Colours emerge in the pans, red, orange, brown, green. "Food is a communication tool. When you are removed from your country you can communicate with people through food, no matter what culture or country you come from," says Reem. "When I feel sad, I do some cooking. When I feel happy I do cooking and make everybody happy with me."