Franco-German project brings directors, artists, photographers and writers to refugee camps

Under the project, French director Régis Wargnier followed the daily life of refugees originating from Bhutan in the Beldangi camp in eastern Nepal.

Children play by a water tank in the Beldangi camp in eastern Nepal.  © UNHCR/S.Bhattarai

PARIS, France, September 24 (UNHCR) - Following the lives of refugees in eastern Nepal was an eye-opening experience for Oscar-winning French film director Régis Wargnier, who says he was struck by their open-mindedness, generosity, kindness and warm welcome.

"People give us a present of their emotions, joy, sadness. I try to take it all," Wargnier said, recalling the people he met in Beldangi camp, where over several weeks he followed the daily life of refugees, including one family originating from Bhutan being resettled in the United States.

The result of Wargnier's labours, the documentary "Let my people go," is part of an ambitious multimedia project launched by the Franco-German TV network ARTE to show life in four different refugee camps around the world.

To bring into sharp focus the dynamism and the diversity of life in refugee camps, the ARTE Reportage team of journalists chose four locations in Nepal, Iraq, Lebanon and Chad. In each of these places, a film director, a photographer, a writer and an illustrator were given freedom to explore daily life inside a refugee community.

Their work and experiences will be shown on television in ARTE Reportage over the next three months on the website of ARTE Info, where a special page has been set up with photo galleries, writers' blogs and an interactive game where internet users can participate by becoming a special correspondent for ARTE and produce their own multimedia reports. The entire project has been accomplished with support from UNHCR.

As part of the series, High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres explains in a frank interview the challenges that UNHCR faces in managing refugee camps at a time when so many people are forced to live in them.

Wargnier is best known for another film shot in Asia, "Indochine," which won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1992 and earned Catherine Deneuve a nomination for best actress.

By William Spindler in Paris, France

For more information about the project, visit: http://info.arte.tv/en/refugees