Inma (24) is determined to win a marathon in the Sahara Desert. But her motives run deeper than the physical challenge. A few months ago, she learned the birthplace of her biological mother: Laayoune, Western Sahara. Having never heard of the country, she decides to train for an international race that takes place nearby, in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Northern Africa. There, she will meet Sahrawis who share her mother’s history of fleeing war and surviving occupation.
About the Western Sahara
The Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, an occupation declared illegal by the UN.
After Morocco violated a 29-year ceasefire, the Western Sahara went back to war November 13, 2020, to fight for independence.
Over 160,000 exiled Sahrawi refugees live in inhospitable conditions, reliant on aid and with limited access to clean water, healthcare, and economic opportunity.
The Sahrawis who live in the occupied territory live under a violent police state. Those who advocate for their rights are subjected to habitual beatings, torture, and are incarcerated without trial. This has increased since November 13.
The European and African Unions have declared the exploitation and international trade of Western Sahara resources illegal, but they continue to happen with impunity.
A UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1991 when the war ended, but nothing has been done since to hold a referendum for independence.
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER & DoP
Michelle is a Canadian video journalist and content creator based out of Toronto. She merges her background in film and journalism to create visual, compelling stories around women, struggle and empowerment for Canadian brands (TVO, Elle Canada, Canadian Living, Today's Parent, Shoppers Drug Mart, and more). She’s trilingual in English, French and Spanish.
After a chance encounter in 2017, Inma asked her to join her in Algeria to make a souvenir video. What began as a small project between friends has evolved into a deeply compelling short documentary about identity and belonging, and has attracted followers from Canada, the United States, Algeria, and Spain. Running Home joins a larger movement of global justice, and exploring topics of race and gender.
Awards & Festivals 2020
NOMINATED, Best Documentary, Hamilton Film Festival
SEMI-FINALIST, Dumbo Film Festival
Official Selection, Canadian Independent Film Festival
Official Selection, Open World Toronto Film Festival
Official Selection, African Diaspora Cinema Festival