An eye for inspiration

Aref Ramazani and Michael Johnston on set. 184677_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Aref Ramazani has a passion to capture positive stories in photo and film.

The Dandneong communications graduate just needed to get his foot in the door.

And he got that platform with a three-month paid internship with video production company Momentary, thanks to a free Centre for Multicultural Youth program.

It was an invaluable learning experience for Mr Ramazani, as well as adding credentials to his CV.

At the end, he crafted a short professional-quality film on friend, kickboxer, businessman and humble inspiration Rohullah Paykari.

Both film-maker and muse are young men who left Afghanistan to seek asylum in Australia.

“My big dream is to be a professional filmmaker, to make a documentary about people from refugee backgrounds,” Mr Ramazani said.

“I want to make videos that showcase people’s lives, people in hardship and tough times.”

His refugee background made it hard to find a job after he finished his university degree.

He applied for endless jobs without a response. He tried employment workshops, and still no success.

“There’s a lot of challenges, especially coming from a refugee background – not only for me,

but for other young people as well,” Mr Ramazani said.

“There’s a lack of language, lack of networks and connections, lack of job searching skills and other issues, such as discrimination.”

Momentary founder and creative director Michael Johnston creates videos, specialising in “social impact storytelling”.

He welcomed the chance to lend a hand, and help address a “lack of diversity” in the media industry.

“I think a lot of people in his community and other marginalised groups, receive unfair treatment in the media and therefore people are perhaps less likely to employ them.

“So what we’re trying to do is give people who are facing barriers to employment an opportunity to break down those barriers.

“Ultimately, we hope this will help them tell their own story, and the stories of people in their community.”

Mr Johnston was thrilled to have his young protege on board.

“He is creative, passionate and driven, and has a different set of experiences to the rest of our team.

“He has a unique insight that other people aren’t able to bring to the projects we work on.”

The CMY program aims to support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who face extra barriers to landing a job.

It is supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The William Buckland Foundation, The R E Ross Trust and The Myer Foundation.

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