top of page

Louisa Rose Mackleston on Ruth & Safiya screening in Keighley

Reported by Yusef Alam on the 14th of October 2022

A KEIGHLEY film director said she was blown away by how the community came together to mark the start of Keighley Arts & Film Festival.

Louisa Rose Mackleston said the Peace Meal event at Keighley Shared Church showed why the town is a special place. Louisa’s directorial debut Ruth & Safiya, which was released last year, was screened at the event. Its story of an “unlikely friendship” between an isolated pensioner in her 80s and a teenage refugee from Syria – set in Bradford – is a hallmark of Louisa’s knack for telling the stories of marginalised communities. Over 100 people attended the Peace Meal, which also featured talks, including one from a Ukrainian refugee who has begun a new life in Keighley. “It was an incredible evening,” said Louisa, 27. “We didn’t expect that many people to be there, but they kept coming. Keighley is often forgotten about, so it was great to be a part of.”

The Peace Meal was organised by Keighley Creative, and Louisa said more may be lined up for the future.

“I hope it continues as it’s a great way to engage community engagement, bridge disconnect and make Keighley more cohesive,” she said.

“Local vicars and imams spoke, as did a Ukrainian refugee, which was particularly moving.”

Ruth & Safiya was made on a budget of £3,000, mostly made up of funding from Bradford Council. It has been screened as far afield as Japan, Dallas, Macedonia and Brazil, amongst other places.

“The idea came from my desire to change the narrative around refugees which has been plastered across the media, which has desensitised us to the horrors they face,” said Louisa.

“Refugees often become a statistic, used to drive racist and Islamophobic narratives. I wanted to create a film which reminded people that refugees are human beings.

“Our melting pot of cultures, races and religions are what makes the UK great. It is something which should be celebrated.”

As part of the event, Dr Javed Bashir – cultural heritage and diversity lead for Keighley Creative – also spoke.

Speaking to the T&A, he later said: “This event aimed to build bridges between people who might not normally have an opportunity to meet, and to replace ignorance and fear with increased familiarity and a sense of the richness that diversity can bring.

“Ruth & Safiya touched on loneliness and friendship between people who may not necessarily cross paths. I think it’s a great film and I thoroughly enjoyed the screening.”


bottom of page