Artist spotlight: Meet Maryam

Meet Maryam Haddadi.

Documentary filmmaker Maryam Haddadi will be screening and discussing her video art piece commissioned by Refugee Festival Scotland.

Beyond the Words narrates the story of 3 Iranian women, one being herself, celebrating through these, and delving into, a lineage of women’s courage and solidarity.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Ling Lee.

Beyond the Words will be held at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, on Friday 14th June, from 6pm.

Tell us a bit about yourself – and what inspires you?

I am a multidisciplinary, award-winning documentary filmmaker and graphic designer, currently pursuing a master’s degree in Directing Film at the University of Edinburgh.

My deep passion for all things creative, particularly visual communication and cinema, drives my work. I am especially enthusiastic about capturing and sharing human stories, with a special focus on the narratives of women who thrive amidst adversity, turning constraints and pressures into remarkable achievements. My first amateur documentary was screened at 19 festivals and won 3 awards.

The resilience and courage of women around the world inspires me the most. The challenges they face, from war and economic hardships to political restrictions and cultural pressures. Their stories are not just tales of struggle, but of strength and transformation, and I find immense inspiration in their ability to turn adversity into empowerment.

How does it feel to be part of this year’s Festival?

Being a part of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland is an incredible honor. It is a unique opportunity to share the stories of marginalized voices and contribute to a platform that celebrates resilience and solidarity. The festival’s commitment aligns perfectly with my own mission as a filmmaker.

It is also a great opportunity for me to meet and work with people who are interested in human stories, and it helps me a lot to find a voice for myself to narrate them. I am thrilled to be a part of an event that fosters empathy and understanding through the power of storytelling.

Tell us a bit about your event?

My event at the festival will be the screening and discussion of a video art piece titled “Beyond the Words.”

This piece explores Iranian women’s individual mental health and collective identity. It seeks to uncover the world that exists behind simple words, when they are talking about their painful experiences.

The piece narrates the story of three Iranian women, including myself, celebrating their courage and solidarity. It delves into the lineage of women’s resilience and the shared experiences that bind us together.

What are you most looking forward to during this year’s Festival?

I am most looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other artists and attendees who share a passion for storytelling and social justice.

The festival provides a platform to engage in meaningful conversations about the experiences of human beings. I am excited to witness the diverse range of stories being told and art being shown, and to be inspired by the creativity and resilience of the participants who mostly never had a chance to showcase their art.

Moreover, I hope to learn from the audience’s reactions and insights during the Q&A session, as their perspectives are invaluable in shaping future projects.

Anything else you want to share?

I wanted to mention that this video is part of my research journey to create a documentary film for my graduation project. The opportunity to screen it at the Refugee Art Festival has really given me the courage to keep going in this field (documentary filmmaking).

I would like to emphasize that my work is not just about telling stories; it is a form of therapy and empowerment. Sharing the struggles and hardships that women experience across the globe is not easy, but it gives us, as women, the strength to voice our pains, support each other, and create waves of empathy.

Refugee Festival Scotland has given me the opportunity to raise these voices, to make them louder and more resonant. I believe that when our words are heard, we gain power and drive change.

This is the opportunity that Refugee Festival Scotland has given me, and I am deeply grateful for it.

Thanks Maryam!

Don’t miss Beyond the Words, 6pm on 14th June at Kelvinhall, Glasgow.