Spotlight: Where I Am (A Series of Interviews Exploring Migration) by Iman&Samiha

Iman and Samiha are two photographers and filmmakers who recently created a mini documentary entitled ‘Where I Am’ which was submitted for a UN Film Festival. The documentary is in the form of an interview series featuring Immigrant parents being interviewed on their experiences by their children. Below is an exclusive interview with Iman and Samiha where they discuss the inspiration behind the series as well as the link for you to watch the documentary.

What was the inspiration behind the interviews and why focus on Migration in particular?

I think the biggest inspiration was our own parents. Both mine and Iman’s parents migrated here and we grew up hearing stories about their experiences settling into the U.K. It definitely shapes your outlook towards society and how you see yourself – in a good way. So many of our friends parents also migrated here so it’s easy to think that making the move to the U.K. is a normal thing for that generation, but as you grow older you realise it’s really not ‘normal’ at all, and they’ve left behind their own individual lives- home, family, friends and jobs,  in order to make a better life for their family and own children.

What was the most surprising aspect of the creation process?

The most surprising and wonderful aspect of the creation process was the fact that most of the children participating were able to hear new stories for the first time.

It was amazing to capture their feelings of sadness, relief, humour and pride while they were interviewing their parents.

Iman and I both felt proud that we were able to set it all up for them. Content wise, one thing that really surprised me was a story Daniel Feiner, the Belgian Jewish father who came to London because of the Second World War, told. It didn’t make the final cut but he told a really cool story about how his mum was an anti-racist campaigner and would campaign against racism towards South Asian communities in London.

It was a really inspiring example of building alliances and forming coalitions between two community groups.

We hope to share his full story in a separate episode soon!

What does the future hold for Iman & Samiha?

I hope the future is shining bright for Iman & Samiha. We both love using our cameras and it was cool to stretch ourselves and submit a film to the UN Plural+ Film Festival. We’ve been really fortunate to be asked to do wedding photography and videography and Alhamdulillah has had a great year. It’s still early days but we hope you will all be hearing from us all again soon. We are working on our website and will launch our Instagram account soon too (@Iman&Samiha). In the meantime, please follow our individual accounts @samihacam and @imannmn. We are excited to start putting our content out there.

What do you hope viewers leave the video with?

We hope the video leaves young people wanting to claim their own narratives, encouraging them to explore their own history and realise their identity through their parent’s experiences. Whether your parents moved because they were in poverty or they came here to study medicine, London isn’t an easy place to settle especially in the 1970s, so it’s important to acknowledge their courage. It’s sad to think these stories could remain untold and disappear within the next generation.

Hearing my dad’s stories of struggles and ease when he first moved to London made me proud of where he’s come from, and as such, where I’ve come from too.

Enjoy watching the documentary below.

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