Hard Truth, Levity and Hope is a touching short documentary film that explores the lives of refugee teens who have settled in Lowell, Massachusetts. An urban city, Lowell has been a refuge for immigrants since its birth. The latest wave of refugees are from camps in Nepal, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and various other African regions. Having faced incredible atrocities in their homelands, and disparaging conditions in refugee camps, they have come to the United States seeking a new life, and a chance at peace and freedom.
This film follows the stories of six refugee teens who have come to Lowell with their families. They all attend Lowell High School. Many of them have faced significant gaps in their schooling, are learning English as a third, fourth, and sometimes even eighth language. We watch as they struggle to find their place in a world that is foreign to them, and ultimately succeed.
The film was inspired by the experiences of Executive Producer Deb Fowler, an ELL teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. Through her work with refugee students, she learned of their poignant stories that pervaded every aspect of their lives. The perseverance of their spirits through such painful human suffering astounded Deb. The students were bursting to tell their stories; to be heard; to be seen as human beings by the people around them who often saw them as nothing more than a burden on our society.