Cinemaximiliaan is a platform with and by newcomers in Belgium. The initiative started in an improvised camp at the Maximiliaan Park in Brussels with daily film screenings. Cinemaximiliaan quickly grew by the commitment of a vast network of volunteers, amongst them many newcomers.
Cinemaximiliaan brings films in many remote asylum centers around Belgium on a regular basis, where there is a need for encounter and cultural exchange. Also we organise film screenings with encounters and debates in private homes, in cinema’s and in cultural venues. It is like a itinirant living room where people can feel home and find a place to exchange and work together.
The project house in Molenbeek is the beating heart of Cinemaximiliaan where people stay over after events. It is here that artistic productions are developed; music for silent film and a platform for the production of short films. Cinemaximiliaan builds bridges for encounters and co-creation through which newcomers can continue their path in a new homeland.
“After losing my home and leaving my whole family behind in Afghanistan, I found home and family with Cinemaximiliaan. Our project house has been my first home in Belgium it has been my secret escape from negativity to positivity and place to dream for my future.”
— Samsia Ahmadi-Nijat, 29, Afghanistan.
NGO-worker and board member Cinemaximiliaan.
“Het werk dat de mensen van Cinemaximiliaan verzetten, is uniek in zijn soort – niet alleen tonen ze hoe generositeit en gastvrijheid er concreet uitzien, dag in dag uit, door mensen die op zoek zijn naar een beter leven in hun geweldige tehuis te ontvangen, onvermoeibaar en bevlogen; ze geven vreugde, inspiratie en concrete invulling aan verlangens naar een veilige plek, een nieuwe thuis waar creativiteit gelijkstaat aan integratie en integratie aan creativiteit.”
— Stefan Hertmans, 69, Belgium.
Author, ambassador Cinemaximiliaan.
“The first time I ever felt home in Belgium was at the very first time I had been to Cinemaximiliaan. I’ve found family and friends who encourage me to be a productive member of the society. It’s hard to lose everything but it’s harder to restart, refind and refound your life! Cinemaximiliaan is my answer to all of those hardships. It’s an endless circle of giving and receiving love, hope and empowerment regardless of race and gender. “
— Doaa Azawi, 30, Iraq.
Medical doctor, volunteer Cinemaximiliaan.
“Cinemaximiliaan means a lot to me. We share a lot of things like energy, love, friendship, culture. I learned so much from here, I really feel open and comfortable. Cinemaximiliaan is not just a house to me, it’s my home and they are my family. I do have brothers and sister but never saw them in my life. Here in Cinemaximiliaan I have brothers, sisters and friends that I am so proud of.”
— Fatma Osman, 21, Somalia.
Aspiring filmmaker, project coordinator Cinemaximiliaan.