New Humanity Movement

Social Communication

Derschwarzeloewe1
A movie by the Austrian film director Wolfgang Murnberger. A small and quiet village in the famous Viennese Forest. A football club without successes. Four young Nigerian refugees, looking for a better life. The story of a great friendship. A movie for the national Austrian TV is born.

 

By Ursula Leutgöb- Eichgraben, Austria

 

From the football field to the national TV: but who would have imagined it? Eichgraben is a small village, not far from Vienna. It is here that few years ago some families lived together an experience of friendship and solidarity, which in 2007 inspired the storyboard of the movie “Der schwarze Löwe” (“The black lion”) produced by ORF, the national Austrian broadcasting corporation. 

The film tells the story of Emmanuel Antiga, known to all as the "TIGER", a young Nigerian who, together with three other boys, arrived in the small Austrian village in the summer of 2005, seeking political asylum in Austria. The four came to be part of the local football team, "saving it." They became friends with some of the local boys, including our sons Julian and Philip – at the time 16 and 14 years old - who one day brought them home.

This is how an amazing experience for us started with these young Nigerians, that at the beginning involved two other families, and then a large number of people of our city.

Very soon, we realized that first of all we had to offer these young Africans friendship, practical help and a hand, in order to get acquainted with this "world," so different and often hostile towards them. They had certainly lived terrible moments during their extremely dangerous journey from Nigeria to Europe. They left everything for an unpredictable and vague future. They arrived here with nothing.

We opened them our families and we shared with them the simple things of our life: the football club, for example, made available a small apartment and insured each of the four; anyone who had something superfluous would bring it: a bed, a bicycle, a sofa, food, clothes, money for language courses, books, an invitation ....

A wave of solidarity, freshness, friendliness and new energy passed through our village, "waking everybody up".

When towards the end of the year we learnt that Tiger would not remain in Austria and that he would be deported, we - and with us most of the inhabitants of Eichgraben - did everything we could, in order to find a solution. But Tiger eventually had to leave.

The echo of what was happening in Eichgraben reached and interested the media too. Articles were written in the most important newspapers and periodicals, and so Uli Brée and Rupert Henning, two well-known Austrian writers, actors and comedians became aware of the story. The two wrote the film, which was then produced by ORF, published on the occasion of the European Football Championship in June 2008, and later released as a DVD.

To tell our story to Brée and Henning, knowing that they intended to make a film, was for me (and for all of us who were involved) something very special ...

It meant entering a world completely unknown till now, at the same time charming. But it meant, above all, to really become friends.

One day I told Mercedes Echerer - the wife of Rupert Henning and also a well-known actress - that some teachers, friends of mine, had presented the movie "The Black Lion" at school with great success ... Mercedes Echerer - who in 2003 had founded with "EUXXLfilm" a forum for the promotion and distribution of European films - looked at me and said: “Now, I'm going to put into practice an idea that I have been harboring in my heart for a long time: a project of educational media for the schools, in which a film brings to the class topics and issues, that are relevant to the education and instruction of youth. A film, however, which it is not meant just as "fun", but as a real teaching tool.

der schwarze loewe2
That is how "Kimik" (Kino mit Klasse - cinema with class) was born - the latest project of EUXXLfilm - now supported and recommended by the Austrian Federal Ministry for education, art and culture.
We have taken the first steps with "The black lion" and the themes of "interculturality", "migration", "integration." In the meantime, other topics have been developed, such as "media competence" or "prevention of violence and conflict."

Whenever a school asks us to present "The Black Lion", I am always - and happily - part of the team. In my workshop I have the responsibility and the opportunity to enter into dialogue with the students, telling them the real story behind the film and answering their questions. It is a unique opportunity to talk with them about important topics such as diversity, inclusion, mutual respect, civic courage .... and to tell them of this extraordinary friendship with Tiger. Right now over 2000 are the children, who know the story.

And above all, they know a "method" in order to relate with one another, with the one who is different, a method which leads to build hope and a future. What happens is that the our work with children later materializes in charitable or social actions in favor of immigrant groups here in Austria, or in favor of Tiger and the Holy Trinity School in Uromi/Nigeria, where he is now a teacher.

For my family and me, this story with Tiger is still going on. Just now it has got a whole new shade: our daughter Lena (19) left for Nigeria on October 1 2012. She decided to spend three months, working in the Holy Trinity School. She will surely live a unique experience. And she will meet again her African brother.

To know the Film: click here

© Photo Copyright FairPlay & ORF, Creative Commons License

 

 

 

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