College film-makers shine light on equality

10 Jun 2021

A short film titled The Path to Equality has put five College boys in the spotlight at the prestigious Doc Edge Film Festival.

Yusef Elnahas, Bruce Chen, Oscar Gosling, Isaac Heap and Thimeth Wijesinghe have pooled their film-making talents to produce the runner-up entry in the national competition to find the best student-created short documentary.

Along with a Christchurch Boys’ High School student, the Year 12 College students have crafted a powerful piece based on the theme of “inspiring social change”.

“In the wake of the Mosque attacks on 15 March 2019, we wanted to understand more about race relations in New Zealand to achieve positive change,” Yusef explains.

“We wanted to focus on the path to solutions, and interviewed three well-known figures.”

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and former Linwood Mosque Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalimall appear in the documentary, with the Imam sharing his views on the impact of the Mosque attacks and highlighting the importance of coming together as one society to combat racism.

“We wanted to discuss what we can do to provide solutions,” Yusef says.

“Is racism something we are born with or is it nurtured? Is there a fear of difference? How can we change the narrative? What do we need to change within education?

“As the Imam explains, ‘if we don’t do anything now, it could happen again in any community’,” Yusef says. “We need to find the best path to a solution.”

Among entries from across the country, the boys are thrilled that their work has been recognised.

Yusef says they have all learnt a great deal from the film-making process while also creating a bond and discovering what it means to be a strong community as they become more optimistic about the future.

“We were all very interested in the topic, and wanted to put our knowledge and experience together to make this short film that we want to share with others.”

Their prize money will be donated to an Islamic charity helping those families affected by the Mosque attacks. You can watch The Path to Equality on YouTube.

Doc Edge is an Academy Awards qualification festival for documentaries, focusing on excellence in storytelling, the celebration of diversity and inspiring social change.