|Photo courtesy of CEP Films|
Fortunately, in 2008 Smiler and his family were selected to resettle to America with hope for a peaceful life and a chance to succeed. Sadly, their dreams of a new life in the United States were met with many challenges. Refugees are placed into poverty and dangerous neighborhoods where they continue to face the violence and discrimination they sought to leave behind. There are many individuals and groups willing to help, including ESL teachers, community churches, and nongovernmental organizations, but many times they are limited by their resources.
I felt compelled to give the refugees a voice by filming from their point of view over a 6-month period. Nickel City Smiler documents the refugees’ hardship and their incredible determination to one day live in peace and ensure a better future for their children.
Please watch Nickel City Smiler with an open mind, as we did while filming. Refugees are not looking for handouts; they are looking for a peaceful life, a chance to succeed, and a smile.