Ahead of this year’s graduation, we are catching up with our brilliant trainees – sharing their stories and hearing what they thought about their film-training with See Change Films and Families Forward of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea . This week we meet up with Salima, who is about to graduate from our film-training course with her two daughters Soraya, 11, and Kiera, 7.
For Salima, one of the most important aspects of the filmmaking experience has been the feeling of being able to create something original, as well as getting to spend time with her daughters outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I think we took part in the See Change Films and Families Forward's training course for quite different reasons than many other families. My children have always been quite level-headed. It’s me who has been suffering from a sense of lack of purpose, and an inability to see things through - issues that are linked to my mental health problems.
What felt so good and different about this programme was that no one was trying to tell me how to be a better parent - it was just about me and the girls learning a new skill and enjoying some quality time together. This was a different approach to activities I’ve done with charities in the past, when I’ve been trying to resolve my anxieties around parenting.
I’ve been given a new sense of clarity from working with the See Change and Families Forward team, both inside my head, clarity for my ideas, and clarity around the film I wanted to make.
The team has shown amazing patience and support. It’s been a massive thing for me to start and complete a project like this. It is thanks to them I am now about to finish a short documentary with my daughters. It feels wonderful to have created something like this film; I have been able to voice my ideas and thoughts.
I wanted my daughters to explore who their role models are. Soraya, my eldest, is becoming a teenager and going through a transition period. I wanted to show her that there are so many different ways to be a woman, and that there are so many women doing wonderful things out there - you won’t necessarily see that in media, in literature or in music.
It is important that young girls can also see different kind of women celebrated as role models. For the film, I decided to focus on three women who are at very different stages in their lives, but have all had very colourful, interesting journeys and share many positive qualities that I’d like to see my daughters aspire to. I interviewed my daughters’ paternal grandmother and a young woman doing her PhD in genetics, and Soraya chose her primary school teacher as the third interviewee.
I hope that my children can look back fondly on this film and think carefully about who they nominated as their role model and why. Moreover, I hope that all young girls - and anyone who sees this film - can revise and change their perceptions of what women can and should be.
I have seen a different side to my daughters through the experience of filmmaking. I was surprised by how mature and interesting the ideas were that they offered, and they enjoyed the process so much. It made me very proud. I feel we have created a lifelong memory together.
There are so many stories I want to tell in my head - I just need to make them reality. When I was younger, I wanted to become a film director, and now I’ve got my taste for filmmaking back.