Diaspo # 27: Hala Cherradi, the refugees' empowerer

Passionate about design and cinema, Hala Cherradi is know for her contribution to the «Don't Be Silent Berlin» project, which won the «Peer to Peer : Facebook Global Digital Challenge» prize in Washington on the 31st January.

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Hala Cherradi, a Moroccan movie director and activist who helps refugees in Germany where she lives./Ph. DR

Hala Cherradi is an Agadir-native who graduated from a French school before leaving Morocco for Spain. In Barcelona, she studied cinema and then obtained a bachelor's degree in movie directing and scripting, business and management. Very quickly, she surrendered to the artistic vibes of Berlin, where she started meeting and working next to other movie directors.

Once in the German capital, the young filmmaker learnt German for two years. She immediately wanted to make a documentary on refugees : «I arrived here at the same time as several of them and the topic touched my heart right away», she told Yabiladi.

The source of inspiration

While in high school, Hala Cherradi knew from the very beginning that she wanted to have an artistic career : «When I saw Stanley Kubrick's movie Clockwork Orange, I thought I wanted to do that».

Daughter of an entrepreneur, Hala was encouraged by her father who preferred her to develop a more classical career by studying business and management in Spain, alongside her cinema studies. Today, she sees her background as a blessing:

«My studies allowed me to have a more global vision of what I wanted. I know about producing and budgeting a film project, which you do not necessarily master first when you are a young director».

Hala Cherradi is, indeed, increasingly interested in the refugee crisis, a topic that has always moved her. Arriving in Berlin, she witnessed a lot of flaws :

«In Germany, refugees receive a lot of support from the state. But society has not been knowledgeable yet about this truth».

Behind the camera

In October 2017, Hala Cherradi signed for a master's degree in strategic design at Berlin's Design Akademie : «I did it in order to have a broader artistic background and a richer cinematographic vision». Meanwhile, the young artists is committed to a campaign to fight against hate speech directed at refugees.

Together with her classmates, eight marketing communication students and eight others who study strategic design, Hala Cherradi launched the «Don't Be Silent Berlin» project, to raise awareness among Germans and help refugees.

«We want to make the silent majority speak, those who do not share these hateful opinions. People see them as a group and they often ignore the existence of such violent messages against them. We also want to show that through successful integration, life in general is going to improve. Here in Berlin, refugees bring a lot to cultural life and the German economy».

For the same purpose, Hala Cherradi directs a series of videos called «Face the Truth». The idea is to highlight German citizens who are against hate speech, and also showcase the stories of refugees who managed to successfully integrate in the German society. To do this, the Cultural Center of Refugees in Berlin and the Academy of Design have been of great support.

International recognition

Last January, the name of Hala Cherradi made headlines, thanks to her project «Don't Be Silent Berlin». Nominated by the «Peer To Peer ; Facebook Global Digital Challenge», she competed and her initiative shone bright for its pure objective.
However, Hala is not willing to stand there alone as her project was a group work :

«Many people tend to focus on me, but I would like to point out that I'm not the only one working on this project. Without the joint efforts of the whole team, our project might not have had so much international resonance».

All passions lead to cinema

If Hala Cherradi is passionate about visual arts and design, she is also fascinated about Muay Thai (Thai boxing), which she played for three years:

«It's a sport that takes a lot of effort and a lot of patience, and it brings me back to my vision of life. It's a fight in itself and there's always something to face in life».

Even while practicing Thai boxing, the movie director is never far from her first passion: cinema. She directed last April a short documentary on her coach which brings her to Agadir. She is working on another film project in Morocco, scheduled for this summer.

Hala Cherradi does not forget to continue to defend the project «Don't Be Silent Berlin». She even plans to make it a subject for her master's thesis: «This is a very powerful project that is very important to me. It is based on design and innovation with a deeply human approach. I have not thought about a specific angle yet, but that will be my thesis topic».

Never short of ideas, Hala Cherradi entrusts us with a documentary project that she wishes to carry out: «I would very much like to be able to follow a strong character to make a documentary about the refigured ones. I will always stick to this idea».

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