On the 22nd April, year 10 students (know as the UF) had the opportunity to watch the 2022 film, ‘Name Me Lawand,’ directed by Ed Loveace. This critically acclaimed documentary has won prestigious recognitions such as the ‘Children’s Resilience in Film 2023’ and the ‘Best Feature Documentary 2024, to name a few.

Name Me Lawand depicts the true story of a young, deaf Kurdish boy, Lawand, who travels from Iraq to Derby with his parents and two brothers at the age of just five. Lawand and his family risk everything in order to attempt to create a life in which Lawand could communicate with the world using British Sign Language. Throughout the course of the film, viewers are transported to the family’s turbulent journey across Europe before reaching the UK, a traumatic experience we know too many face. When Lawand makes it to the Derbyshire, he is welcomed by the Royal School for the Deaf. Throughout Lawand’s time at the school, viewers are immersed in the family’s experiences of joy, change and uncertainty, as everyone adjusts to a new language, new jobs, and for one of Lawand’s brothers, Rawa, a completely new school and set of friends.

Lawand’s entire family, and Lawand himself are of course all featured in the film, making the documentary truly a labour of love between Lawand and Ed Loveace, as they bring Lawand’s vision to life. The film depicts Lawand’s immense progress in communication, and confidence, in addition to beginning to process the trauma of travelling to a new country. For that reason, Lawand and his brother Rawa wanted the film to be as big as possible, with bold, beautiful music, and of course, each ‘chapter’ within the film was presented by an impactful title, and BSL symbols underneath.

Following the screening of the film, director Ed Loveace explained key aspects in the making of the piece. For instance, before a camera even entered the house, his primary objective was to ensure he built strong friendships and trust with every member of the family, as the experienced director knew just how invasive the cameras would come to be. So, two years after first meeting the family, filming began. When asked what challenges presented themselves throughout the course of filming, it was revealed that the content of the documentary inevitably changed due to the family’s uncertain status as to whether they would be allowed to remain in the UK.

Furthermore, when asked why film making was particularly effective in bringing awareness to social issues, Loveace explained that when people visually see struggles, it stirs an emotion of empathy that cannot necessarily be aroused by words in an article or book.

So would I recommend this film? Absolutely. The UF learnt a great deal in the span of just a few hours. Firstly, with so much media coverage and debate over immigration and the refugee crisis, one principal and decision should always remain the same: that all children have the potential to prove their creativity and individuality when given the right support, and therefore, all deserve an education that serves them. Secondly, that thanks to campaigns from deaf and hearing people alike, positive change is being enacted, such as the 2015 British Sign Language act.

It is eye opening to attempt to comprehend that this is one boy’s true story; however we shouldn’t be surprised. Children never cease to be resilient.