WNY Refugee Film Festival




Dear Friends,

Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc. cordially invites you to a very special film festival on refugees in 2018-2019, beginning this September with a series of extraordinary documentaries on the refugee experience in the U.S., culminating in a two-day grand finale of three outstanding international films to celebrate World Refugee Day in June 2019. This is our only big fundraiser for the year, so please join us for this spectacular cinematic experience and help support refugees in WNY!

Proceeds will benefit the many programs at Journey’s End that serve thousands of refugees, immigrants, asylees, and other communities in Western New York each year. Please visit our website to learn more about our vital programs and initiatives for our clients.

Our film festival has been curated to make this the most exciting and unique cinematic “Happening” in Buffalo over the next year. Whether you are passionate about the plight of refugees or just love great, thought-provoking filmmaking, we have something for everyone: Congolese auteurs in Montana; poetry and paintings of Baghdad; refugees confronting white supremacy in Maine; a women-run food truck in Beirut; a Syrian, a Finn, and a sushi restaurant in Helsinki, and much more!

By purchasing a JERS Ambassador Film Festival Package, you'll get a fantastic deal on eight fantastic films – a year’s worth of entertainment that also supports our refugee community. Your package also includes special guest speakers, a chance to win great door prizes at each screening, and an invitation to our VIP reception to celebrate the grand finale of our film festival on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in the lower level lobby of the Tri-Main Center, from 4 pm - 6 pm.

Plan your date nights with a loved one and purchase two packages, or buy as a gift for a new grad or the cinephile in your life. Can’t make a film? Give your ticket to a family, friend, or colleague. Purchase packages and read our terms and conditions regarding sales and transfers here.

All films are in English with subtitles and will be screened in our theater at Journey’s End, conveniently located in the Tri-Main Center at 2495 Main Street, Suite 530, Buffalo, NY, 14214. There is ample parking in lots on Halbert, Jewett, and Rodney Streets. For more information, email us and follow us on Facebook for the latest news and views on refugee issues and, of course, on the film festival!

Seating is very limited and available for a short time only, so purchase your JERS Ambassador Film Festival Package today! See you at the movies!


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Karen Andolina Scott, Esq.

Executive Director, Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc.  

Special Guests

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Yehuda Sharim, Director, we are in it and Lessons in Seeing

Dr. Yehuda Sharim is a scholar and filmmaker currently serving as a postdoctoral fellow in Jewish Studies at Rice University. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Global Art Studies Program, University of California, Merced.

The son of Iranian Jewish refugees who emigrated to Israel, Sharim created his first documentary, we are in it, in part because he, too, has experienced the refugee life. Although his situation was not nearly as difficult as that of the refugees he has filmed, he sympathizes deeply with their struggles, and wanted to empower them to tell their stories and draw attention to the world’s greatest refugee and migrant crisis in modern times.

His films, which have appeared in various film festivals and universities across the world, provide a comparative study of immigration and displacement, shedding light on the changing constructions of home, nation, and belonging. Sharim is also the co-founder of Houston in Motion: Empowering Houston Refugee Communities, a multimedia project that provides a window into the lives and experiences of immigrant and refugee communities. Sharim holds a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from the Department of World Arts and Cultures at University of California, Los Angeles. 

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Yan Digilov, Producer, we are in it and Lessons in Seeing

Yan Digilov is Chief Strategist of The Firestarter Group, a non-profit located in Houston that focuses on social investment. He has a degree in economics and mathematics from Rice University. Yan is also a leader in the Houston in Motion collaboration, a multi-media project that provides a window into the lives and experiences of refugee communities in Houston. Coming to the US as a refugee from the former Soviet Union, he has become a powerful advocate for reform in the process of resettlement. Yan has a deep interest in decentralized blockchain technologies, especially as they pertain to applications for better valuing the contributions of migrant communities. we are in it  and Lessons in Seeing were his first two film productions, with his third and fourth films set to premier in 2019.

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Nancy Adossi

Dr. Nancy Adossi is an undocumented immigrant from Togo who moved to the United States as an unofficial refugee in 1998 with her family, and became a DACA recipient while living and studying in Houston, Texas. During that time, Nancy gained a Bachelor's in Political Science, a Master's in Public Administration, and a Doctorate in Education. She was the Valedictorian of her undergraduate class in 2011. At 26, she became a professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Houston. Currently, Nancy is a principal consultant with Adossi Consulting, conducting research for various immigration non-profits, including The Black Alliance for Just Immigration and UndocuBlack Network. She appears in our first film of the festival, we are in it.


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Bonus Special Event for Early Birds (Early Bird packages are now SOLD OUT! Ambassador Film Festival Packages are still available!)

If you are one of the first 70 people to purchase the JERS Ambassador Film Festival Package, which includes all documentary films in the series from September to April and the Global Film Festival Grand Finale in June 2019, you get to attend an extra special FREE screening of the film, Lessons in Seeing, followed by what is sure to be a stimulating and lively community conversation on the fate of refugee resettlement in the U.S. and other related topics led by the director, Dr. Yehuda Sharim (who also directed and produced our festival’s opening film, we are in it), producer, Yan Digilov, and Dr. Nancy Adossi (who appears in our festival's opening film, we are in it)

This special event will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 2 pm in our theater at Journey’s End. You can read more about Lessons in Seeing here. The first 70 people will be notified by email to RSVP, if they are an Early Bird, along with more details of our very special event.

But even if you don't make the cut, everyone who purchases a JERS Ambassador Film Festival Package is invited to a VIP reception on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 4 pm-6 pm in the downstairs lobby of the Tri-Main Center, the location of our office and the film festival. Drinks and light refreshments will be served in honor of the conclusion of the First Annual Western New York Refugee Film Festival. We want you to celebrate the success of our event with us, and thank you for your support during these challenging times for the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Also, there will be special speakers, great door prizes, and other awesome perks for all who purchase festival film packages! Stay tuned for updates!

Don’t wait to be part of Buffalo’s cinematic happening of the year! Seating is limited and film festival packages are only available for a limited time, too! We do expect our film festival to sell out quickly, so purchase your JERS Ambassador Film Festival Package today!