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Superoptimists on the road

Superottimisti on the road

Cinema as intercultural exchange to portray the climate crisis between wars and human mobility

Turin, Italy -

 June 10, 2023, 16:00 Cinema Massimo, Turin International CinemAmbiente Festival Screening/live debate, both in-person and streamed on Superottimisti's YouTube and Facebook channels.

"Superoptimists on the road" is an event for in-depth analysis and reflection on the topic of displaced people in the context of disasters and climate change from various perspectives. It starts from an educational and film production experience carried out by young university students who are refugees in Kenya.

In December 2022, Superottimisti conducted a film language and creative enhancement workshop in Nairobi. This was made possible thanks to the support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Kenya and in collaboration with the international organization Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Kenya.

The main objective of the workshop was the production of a short film that combined Italian archival footage with shots taken by students who were enrolled in a communication course offered by Southern New Hampshire University (USA). During an intense week of work, the 15 students from different African countries, transformed into a real film crew. Guided and coordinated by Superoptimists trainers, they embarked on a professionalizing journey that allowed them to experience all stages of audiovisual production, from scriptwriting to filming and editing the video. The short film, "Shine Again," was ultimately presented in a cinema in Nairobi through a well-attended public event.

"Shine Again" tells the emblematic story of Rozine, one of the workshop participants, a young refugee from Rwanda who had to flee her home country at a young age. She now lives and works in Nairobi for the JRS organization, which provided her with shelter, access to education, and employment opportunities.

Based on the contributions of the entities that conceived, coordinated, and supported the project, as well as the testimonies of the students who participated in the workshop the audience in Turin will have the opportunity to reflect on the potential of audiovisual language in terms of professional growth, as a participatory experience and group work tool, and its role in fostering cultural exchange and understanding of different traditions, mainly through the viewing and analysis of archival material.

The experience in Kenya and the stories of the participating students also broaden the discussion on one of the effects of climate change on human society: the development of social conflicts arising from environmental challenges such as drought and desertification. These challenges compel an increasing number of people to leave their home countries.

To address this complex and delicate issue affecting populations worldwide, the event will feature a debate aimed at providing the audience with essential elements to understand its most significant aspects. This will include personal testimonies, social perspectives, and the definition of rights at the international level. Representatives from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), UNICRI (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute), the City of Turin, JRS, and Centro Astalli will participate.

The discussion will begin with an intervention by UNICRI, drawing on research and projects focused on the African continent to analyze the repercussions of climate change on local populations in terms of security, interethnic dialogue, and social cohesion. The intervention will also highlight how terrorist groups and criminal organizations exploit vulnerabilities arising from climate change.

Next, it will be the turn of UNHCR, the leading organization in the world committed to saving lives and protecting the rights of millions of refugees, displaced persons, and stateless individuals. Their intervention will focus on the climate crisis as a humanitarian emergency. Its impact is devastating worldwide, with the most vulnerable people, including refugees and displaced persons living in conflict zones and fragile countries, paying the highest price.

In addition, Nouhoum Traore, an expert in Environmental Economics at the University of Turin, who has developed a thesis on the subject, will discuss the importance of considering the central climate aspect for the definition of international status.

To describe the difficulties and daily life of refugees in host countries (in Africa and Italy), there will be a presentation by JRS and a video contribution from Centro Astalli, both engaged since years in the support, service, and protection of refugees.

The debate will be moderated by Abdullahi Ahmed, the first councilor former political refugee of the Municipality of Turin, who will also present projects and institutional initiatives, as well as third-sector initiatives developed in the city to raise awareness among citizens about the issues at hand, counteract negative effects, and work on social integration.

In the spirit of disseminating knowledge and awareness on the topic, representatives from Archivio Superottimisti, the Italian Institute of Culture in Nairobi, and the CinemAmbiente Festival will conclude the debate with an analysis of the educational and formative importance of cinematographic language, presenting works created in some primary schools in the Turin area.


  • Giulio Pedretti, President of Archivio Superottimisti (Superoptimists)
  • Giulia Carbonero, Vice President of Archivio Superottimisti, responsible for the education sector
  • Elena Gallenca, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture Nairobi
  • Angelo Pittaluga (Head of Global Advocacy - JRS/International Office)
  • Refugee students from the Southern New Hampshire University communication course at JRS in Nairobi
  • Elena Atzeni (Integration Associate, UNHCR
  • Manuela Brunero (Programme Management Officer, UNICRI)
  • Abdullahi Ahmed (Former political refugee and councilor of the Municipality of Turin)
  • Nouhoum Traore (Expert in Environmental Economics at the University of Turin)

This event is promoted by the Archivio Superottimisti APS Association, in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture in Kenya, JRS, with the participation of UNHCR, UNICRI, the Municipality of Turin, and Centro Astalli (Italian Office of JRS). The event is endorsed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).