Short film shot by refugee school pupils in 2006 enters national archive

Now 29, Alex Baguma says short film Primary has 'a great deal to teach' people about community and acceptance.

A short film shot by four young asylum seekers back in 2006 still has a “great deal to teach us” about tolerance, according to one of the filmmakers.

Alex Baguma had to flee Zimbabwe with his sisters and mother when he was just a young boy.

The film is one of 200 which has become part of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall as part of the media co-op’s 20th anniversary.

Alex told STV News: “Those first couple of years after arriving in 2001 were extremely tough.

“But we were lucky to find such a tight-knit community when we moved to the Red Road area of Glasgow.”

It was at St Martha’s Primary School in Balornock where 11-year-old Alex became involved in a film-making project that posed the question – ‘what do primary school children think of asylum-seekers and refugees?’

The answers provided a positive message about the assimilation of young asylum seekers within the Scottish education system, and how they are perceived by their peers.

But he says the acceptance of refugees as children is not reciprocated in adults.

Alex said the film has 'a great deal to teach us' about love and acceptance

“Me and my wife watched the film recently, and we were confused about how in all this time things have advanced so much, but [the topic of migration] is still such an issue.

“Playing and getting to know each other is just a natural part of being a child.

“So if grown-ups can tap into their more childish ways of being inquisitive and trying to learn from each other, it would be a different place altogether.”

Alex says he has faced discrimination over the years, but feels fortunate to have come here.

He added: “I’ve taken part in the education system, gone to university, and now I’m training to be a prosthetist/orthotist where I’m using my skills not just to benefit me.”

Now, the film project he was part of 18 years ago is joining the Moving Image Archive at Kelvin Hall.

The donation of around 200 films marks the celebration of media co-op’s 20th anniversary, showcasing their journey creating impactful films over the past two decades.

Alex Baguma fled Zimbabwe with his family in 2001

Co-founder of media co-op, Lucinda Broadbent, said: “What we discovered with the film ‘Primary’ was that Scottish children really enjoyed having asylum seekers around… they’ve made new friends!

“And the sad thing is that the grown-ups haven’t caught up with the children.

“Racism isn’t something that anybody starts with. It’s something that has to be taught, it has to be learned.”

She added: “The voices of people like asylum seekers, people with disabilities, people fighting for climate justice…they are voices that can be lost to history.

“The donation of these 200 films is to make sure those voices are not lost.”

The public can view a curated selection of the films on interactive screens at the Moving Image Archive until the end of 2024.

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