Film focus on immigrants

Young immigrants who recently arrived in Sunderland have been invited to take part in an online film project called Ali In Wonderland.

The 18-month course is a media education scheme specifically for asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants, aged between 13 and 25.

The online film, which looks like a comic strip, will tell the story of two Iranian asylum seekers, Ali and Nasrine, who have just arrived in Wearside.

During weekly workshops the young people involved will work alongside film industry professionals to produce a real film production.

They will take part in drama and improvisation workshops, camera work, sound design, editing, and website development.

Tina Gharavi, creative director and founder of Bridge + Tunnel, which is making the film, said: "We've been inundated by calls from young people who want to be involved.

"It's a very exciting project and phase one in the development of a full-length feature film."

There are 20 young people involved in the project, a handful of whom live in Sunderland where the inspiration for the title came from and some of the scenes will be shot.

When the website is launched, people will be able to log on to watch the two main characters and follow the storylines as they emerge.

Stories will examine how the characters deal with the difficulties they face, how they learn to make their way in their new home and the conflicts in their family life.

The themes will be familiar to the young people involved, many of whom have themselves made remarkable journeys, and their experiences will make the film authentic.

Once shot and edited, the film will be uploaded on to a WiKi website, with addition elements including graphics, photographs, sound, music, and blogs.

Through the WiKi site, young people with similar backgrounds who may feel excluded within their own communities, or isolated because of their experiences, will be able to make contact.

Participants will have the freedom to edit and add content to the website, create new web pages, link to other websites and have editorial control over their own storyboards.