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RE- FUTURE. When a Smartphone fosters Integration


The Re-Future Project will be presented during the closing evening of the Ortigia Film Festival: a workshop of education to image aimed at unaccompanied migrating minors to make them able to tell about their situation starting from their own perspective. How? Using their smartphones. 
During the closing evening of the Ortigia Film Festival, on Saturday July the 22nd, at the Arena Minerva, they will present Re-Future, a project carried on by the audiovisual production company, Dugong Films jointly with the Syracuse ONLUS (socially useful non-profit) association, Accoglierete, aimed at unaccompanied foreign minors and supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe Program. 
Re-Future (a crasis between refugee and future), states its action plan right from its name: working today thinking about the future of refugees, it involves twenty minors, supported by AccoglieRete during a workshop aimed at educating them in the use of image and film-making, whose object is to stir up and stimulate their attention on reality in order to make them learn how to express themselves and get personally involved, using, in a more informed way, a tool they have in their pocket, their smartphone. 
Camilla Paternò of Dugong  Films and the lawyer, Carla Trommino, of Accoglierete, among the first ones in Italy to support and popularize the role of voluntary legal tutor aimed at giving an answer to the feeling of bewilderment of the unaccompanied foreign minors who, more and more, arrive along the shores of Italy, will present the project. Among participants there will also be the young filmmakers who will be able to tell about their personal experience.
This workshop started last March in Syracuse (Sicily), in the newly restored premises of the city’s Fine Arts Academy and will go on until December 2017. A learning path lasting 9 months, the time required to learn, step by step, and master the use of this innovative visual storytelling technique, that is also based on a collective analysis of the pictures produced by these youths during the year and their comparison with sequences drawn from the history of cinema.
At the end of project, planned in December 2018, the videos that will have been realized by these youths will be included into a documentary film that will tell about this workshop experience and will be distributed on various platforms. 
«Our objective is to stimulate these young authors who work in complete autonomy in order to make them look at things in a responsible, critical and free way, promoting a process of inclusion into our society through emotional and cultural interactions” as explained by the tutor of the workshop, Andrea Caccia, who is a Milanese director, communication teacher at the IULM in Milan and who has a long experience in courses aimed at image literacy diffusion on smartphone aimed at teenagers (he is the author of the Vedozero (I see zero) project, that involved hundreds of high-school students in Milan and Palermo). «Acquiring a vision and a technique to express themselves allows to overcome any language and cultural barrier, apart from representing a background of competences and skills that these young people will be able to exploit even in their professional integration».
The videos realized up to now by the youths attending the workshop open a window on the daily life of unaccompanied minors who were accommodated in Syracuse, for the first time seen by the very personal point of view: there is Mor, a fifteen-year-old Gambian who, seeing the big yachts moored at the Ortigia’s docks sings a song, in playback, imitating a hip-hop singer; Ahmed, a seventeen-year-old Egyptian who films himself in the kitchen of his hosting community while he is preparing the dinner for other ten boys; Lamin, a Senegalese who dreams about becoming a chef and films all the details of his work in the kitchens of a restaurant. 
This results into an very personal and surprising diary, a kaleidoscope of pieces of life, instants and glances that transform the objective of the smartphone: from an often considered as depersonalizing tool into a tool to get personally involved to tell and share an experience. 
«For the digital natives videos and social networks are, by now, an extension of their thinking, a technological extension of their knowledge. Immigrating minors live between two worlds; they have incredible stories behind them and as any teenager they need to gradually redefine their own identity – Marco Alessi of Dugong Films, the project leader company, says – the workshop path becomes an aid to anchor themselves to the world and to assert themselves. It is not by chance that the lately approved new Act on Cinema establishes and support education to the use of images at school acknowledging it as an fundamental subject aimed at supplying the younger generations with tools that are essential to understand the world in which we live ».
That of the last years was defined as a “digital migration” since technology and smartphones play an indispensable role for those who make a journey and for leading one’s life when arrived, beside being the only link between what one leaves behind and what will come next.
«Giving immigrants the opportunity of express themselves is the first steps towards their complete integration. The immediacy of the tool attracted the youths’ attention - Iolanda Genovese, in charge of the project for Accoglierete says – above all for those who arrived a few months ago, hosted in the second-reception centers, who do not speak Italian and are encouraged by non-verbal communication».
The pictures produced during the workshop, with particular attention to those focused on the personal representation of reality as an essential component of the integration process, are collected on weekly base on  a server and are being analyzed by a team of researcher of cognitive psychology of the International Telematic Univeristy UNINETTUNO, partnering in the project.