How making a difference enriched me as a filmmaker

In December 2015, I heard about the story of a girl named Sehar. She immigrated to New Zealand at a tender age to escape the hardships that were present back in her home country. However, things did not go smoothly for Sehar. Not long after they’ve arrived in New Zealand, she and her sister had been given a “refugee status” due to the mistreatment they had to endure in their own home. The journey of finding comfort and confidence in her new environment had been long and tough for Sehar, but she was able to not just survive through the difficulties but thrive amidst of these, and her goal now is to help others who are facing the same ordeals as she once was, to find their feet and their voice as they settle into a foreign place.

I thought her story was one worth making a film about to share with others, to inspire people and spread awareness on the many issues that her story touches on. So I contacted Sehar and interviewed her soon after that. I thought that “Making a Difference” was a perfect platform to enter the film into, as it is about young people, specifically young New Zealanders, who are making a difference and inspiring change. I submitted Sehar’s story and we emerged as the overall winner for that year.

I was very much amazed to see the dedication and generosity of the Inspiring Stories team, which were evident in all their efforts to help young people achieve their dreams, enhance their creativity and be instruments of positive change in the world. I have joined the competition in 2014 and again in 2015, and on both occasions, Inspiring Stories had organized tours and meet-ups for us (the participants and our guests), wherein we were given the chance to explore some amazing post-production houses such as Park Road Post and Weta Workshop. During those times we learned so much about the way films are made in the industry, the processes involved and the creative inspirations behind some of the films we loved. Those experiences have definitely stirred something within me and have inspired me to keep on pushing to be better at my craft and to keep the dream alive of making great films someday.