FiSahara (Western Sahara International Film Festival) is an annual human rights film and cultural festival celebrated in the Dakhla refugee camp. It is one of the world’s most remote film festivals, bringing together the Sahrawi population with international filmmakers and other visitors.
Created in 2003, FiSahara is a joint initiative conceived by the Sahrawi refugee community, the Spanish solidarity movement and Spanish filmmakers. It has since become an international collaborative effort, drawing partners, volunteers and participants from many countries. FiSahara is a member of the Human Rights Film Network and of the Video4Change Network created by WITNESS.
FiSahara has brought film and filmmaking to the Sahrawi refugee community, introducing it as a new art and as an effective tool for entertainment, empowerment and social change.
- Film screenings (Sahrawi-themed, entertainment, human rights)
- Roundtables and thematic haimas
- Film and media workshops
- Children’s programming
- Concerts featuring Sahrawi and international musicians
- A Sahrawi traditional cultural fair and parade known as LeFrig
- Camel races
- An international football match
For Sahrawis, FiSahara offers a window to the world. For visitors, who live with local families during the festival, it offers the chance to learn first-hand about the plight of the Sahrawi people.
Since FiSahara’s birth, hundreds of films have screened, dozens of young people have trained at the audiovisual workshops and countless projects and collaborations have been generated between participants and Sahrawis.
FiSahara connects the Sahrawi people with movements for social change, from human rights groups to organizations working on gender equality, health, education and many other important issues.
Sahrawis are struggling to preserve their rich cultural identity, a key to their survival as a people. Through its filmmaking workshops and school, FiSahara provides audiovisual tools to help preserve and showcase Sahrawi identity. Sahrawi-made films are screened at the festival to a local and international audience.
FiSahara is not just about film. The festival aims to draw international attention to the plight of the Sahrawis or indigenous peoples of the Western Sahara, half of whom live as refugees in Algeria and the other half under Moroccan occupation.
FiSahara also provides special training to Sahrawi human rights advocates and filmmakers from the occupied Western Sahara. The workshops primarily employ the WITNESS methodology in showing these activists how to film, narrate, edit, share and archive human rights video. The workshops take place at the film school and during the festival.