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Nickel City Smiler| 1hr : 38mins
Director: Scott Murchie | Producer: Tom Haywood
Focus Years: 2013 | Country: United States
Subject Tags: americas, culture, human rights, inter-cultural relations, migration, united states, violence
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Nickel City Smiler chronicles a refugee’s fight for survival and hope in the American Rust Belt. For his entire life Smiler Greely has lived in conditions only few could imagine. Growing up in Burma, at age 10, Smiler and his family were forced to flee their small village after the Burmese military attacked, tortured, raped and murdered thousands of the countries ethnic minorities. As a teenager, Smiler was compelled to join the resistance army in an attempt to prevent the slaughter of innocent people at the hands of the Burmese Junta. Eventually, Smiler and his family escaped into Thailand where, over the next 20 years, they lived in various refugee camps enduring confinement and poverty. It was in Beh Klaw refugee camp, where Smiler met and married his wife Ma Dee and became a father. In 2007, an optimistic Smiler and his family were selected for resettlement by the United States and assigned to live in Buffalo, New York. Nickel City Smiler documents the ways in which Smiler’s resettlement in Buffalo is as challenging as the life he left behind. Refugees continue to battle hardship, violence and bureaucracy in one of America’s poorest cities. Smiler’s determination, optimism, and desire to support his community are manifested in his son Moe Joe’s moral idealism and sense of social justice. The strength present in Smiler’s family represents the very essence of the refugee community. Nickel City Smiler is a documentary that exposes the challenges that refugees encounter once they have reached America. While Buffalo is often called the city of good neighbors, the aid that refugees receive from government contracted resettlement agencies is often inadequate. Nickel City Smiler delivers a simple message: The journey never ends and hope and determination are cornerstones of the refugee experience. This film will enlighten viewers and reveal the true nature of the refugee condition in America.
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Tom Haywood

United States


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