Filmmaker challenges Middle Schoolers to make a difference

The Middle School hosted Jordanian filmmaker Widad Shafakoj as a guest speaker on Tuesday. Shafakoj, who is a humanitarian activist as well as an award-winning documentary film maker, talked to students about how she started out in the industry, the challenges she faced and lessons she learned along the way.

Shafakoj spoke about her happiness in finding a career through which she could combine her two passion, documentary-making and humanitarian work, resulting in films with real social impact that raise awareness about important social issues, including women’s and children’s rights and the plight of Syrian refugees. Her documentary titled ID:000 shed light on the suffering and abuse of orphans in Jordan and received the Best Documentary award at the Franco Arab Film Festival. As a result of her film, significant changes were made to Jordanian orphan-related regulations to improve their social status within the local community.

In addition to explaining the technicalities of her trade and showing trailers of her latest work, Shafakoj spoke of how she uses filmmaking as a tool to relay her beliefs and concerns in society and how students can do the same by finding the tool that works for them.

“You can accomplish things you never thought you could,” said Shafakoj, challenging the 7th and 8th graders to start making a difference today, no matter how small the step. “We all have the means and tools to get the message out there and achieve what we want to change.”