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More Than I Remember directed by Amy Bench trailer
More Than I Remember directed by Amy Bench (screenshot via Youtube)

Directed by Amy Bench, More Than I Remember, the animated documentary on child refugee Mugeni, will have its international premiere at the 2022 Hot Docs film festival as part of the shorts program: Persister Shorts: Mother’s Day, a selection of short documentaries features stories of women speaking up and being heard.

The documentary first premiered at the 2022 SXSW film festival, where it won a design award.

One night at her home in southeastern Congo, 14-year-old Mugeni awakes to the sounds of bombs. As her family scatters to the surrounding forests to save themselves, Mugeni finds herself completely alone. From there, she sets out on a remarkable solo journey across the globe, determined to reunite with her lost loved ones and lift up the Banyamulenge people. Despite unimaginable obstacles, Mugeni’s story is ultimately a portrait of hope, love, and family bonds.

Watch the trailer for More Than I Remember.

Mugeni’s story brings much-needed attention to the denial of citizenship and humanitarian crisis happening in southeastern Congo where militia attacks on the Banyamulenge, a persecuted minority, have led to the destruction of hundreds of villages and the displacement of over 200,000 people. As a result of this genocide, many have ended up as refugees in neighboring countries or scattered across the globe. As a safe and welcoming sanctuary for persecuted people, the United States has, at times, welcomed and resettled, on humanitarian grounds, unaccompanied minors like Mugeni. This life-saving program was nearly eliminated in 2018, leaving thousands like Mugeni with fewer places to turn to for help.

Unaccompanied refugee children are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, and for over forty years the United States, working with the United Nations, has provided a pathway for a small yet critical number of this population. The previous administration sought to take that away. Stories such as Mugeni’s highlight the need to provide safe spaces for the children who need it most—and work to expose audiences to the issue, protecting the legacy of the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM).

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