Champlain Filmmaker Mira Niagolova to Share Stories of Refugees Coming to Vermont

The Core Division of Champlain College will host a screening and discussion of the documentary film "Welcome to Vermont: Four Stories of Resettled Identity" on Monday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Perry Presentation Room in Perry Hall. It is free and open to the public.

"Welcome to Vermont: four stories of resettled identity," a 65-minute documentary, offers a nuanced view of lives of forcibly displaced people once they have achieved their ultimate desire to resettle in the US and "live the American dream." In four vignettes, it takes us inside the daily lives of four families from Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, and Rwanda who have recently resettled in Vermont, one of the smallest and most homogeneous states in the country. The documentary raises questions about identity, assimilation, and diversity and explores how the adaptation process differs from one ethnic group to another, from one individual to the next.

"Jean Luc Dushime, Champlain College Class of 2010, is one of the individuals featured in the film, and he has an incredibly compelling presence; his story is the last one the filmmaker tells, and it provides an unexpected twist. If for no other reason, come for that - I promise, his views will make you think hard," said Elizabeth Beaulieu, dean of the Core Division.

The filmmaker, Mira Niagolova, who teaches part-time in the Communication and Creative Media Division at Champlain, will join a panel discussion afterward, along with Kesha Ram, Vermont House of Representatives, and Rev. Susan Cooke Kittredge, associate pastor, Charlotte Congregationalist Church.

By sharing the stories featured in the film, "Welcome to Vermont" Niagolova aims to engage the general public, educators, and students in a humanistic dialogue about diversity and tolerance.

"The topic of refugee resettlement couldn't be more timely, and Mira is launching a statewide tour of the film. I hope you'll be able to make time to see this important film," Beaulieu added.

Niagolova is an award-winning internationally recognized documentary filmmaker committed to telling socially conscious stories portrayed with sensitivity and compassion. She is the recipient of a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant. The award is to teach independent film for social change at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts, in Sofia, Bulgaria, and to develop her new multi-platform documentary, "Selling Identity," on gender stereotyping.

Mira Niagolova is an award-winning internationally recognized documentary filmmaker committed to telling socially conscious stories portrayed with sensitivity and compassion.
Mira is the recipient of a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant. The Award is to teach independent film for social change at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts, in Sofia, Bulgaria, and to develop her new multi-platform documentary, "Selling Identity", on gender stereotyping.

Niagolova, who lives in Essex, Vt., made her debut as an independent filmmaker in 1999 with the award-winning documentary Trafficking Cinderella about forced prostitution and the trafficking of women. The film has been screened around the world and used as an educational tool by numerous international cultural and anti-trafficking organizations. Her next film, A Parallel World, about life in a refugee camp also won many awards and was distributed worldwide.

In the early 90's she moved to Montreal, Canada, and worked for seven years with the International Program of The National Film Board of Canada. In 2000 she moved to Vermont and for six years was the Executive Director of the Vermont International Film Festival. She also served as the Artistic Director of White River Indie Films.

Watch a preview of the documentary - https://youtu.be/i-pI8pa2Jq8


Learn more about the Champlain College Filmmaking program 

Learn more about Mira Nigolova 

Learn more about Jean Luc Dushime '10 and his photography


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition. For the third year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2018 "America's Best Colleges," and an "A+ School for B Students" and is ranked in the top 100 Regional Universities of the North. Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2018 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2018 College of Distinction. For more information, visit  www.champlain.edu.