Pilot Action Initiative Minderheiten Tirol

Initiative Minderheiten’s contribution to the Pilot Actions concerns a local film project which involved a migrant volunteer in the process of the production, as an example of good practice. The filmmaker himself was open to the idea of migrant volunteering and furthermore willing to let one of the main roles be taken by a female refugee volunteer, that was supported by the Initiative Minderheiten throughout the process. The filmmaker himself, Kibidoué Eric Bayala, is a Third-Country-National that has lived in Austria since 2003. The documentary is produced by a migrant association, Verein Sahel Tirol, that has already done various film projects.

The topic of the documentary concerns the potential of cultural work and art to provide answers for social issues such as inclusion and social cohesion. For this, the IM volunteer has held conversations with different artists, musicians, comedians etc. about the way art and cultural work can contribute to and enable inclusion. Throughout the film production the volunteer interviewer has been supported by the head of Initiative Minderheiten Tirol. The process of the migrant volunteer involved in the film production has furthermore been documented by behind the scenes recordings, reflections on the experience, motivations etc., that have led to the production of a short video supplementary to the documentary itself. In this way, both the project’s topic has been met by engaging migrant volunteers, but also the topic of the film itself which is about questions of social participation.

About the Initiative Minderheiten and her work

Initiative Minderheiten was founded by activists in 1991, and is a non-profit organization with offices in Vienna and Innsbruck. The organization develops and implements socio-political projects and considers itself as a platform and a network for minorities in Austria. The notion of „minority“ that is used by the Initiative is to be understood in a wider sense and is defined not by quantity, but by forms of exclusion from social participation.

Initiative Minderheiten Tirol has a focus on cultural work. It pursues a cross minority approach and supports the collective political action of members of both minority and majority groups in so-called „minority alliances“. This joining of forces aims to draw attention to different, and sometimes interacting, forms of discrimination in order to work together against oppressive structures, such as sexism, racism, homo- and transphobia, ableism, antiziganism, anti-semitism etc.

In Innsbruck, these goals are mainly implemented through events and actions that show the artistic and creative work of members of various minorities and thus raise awareness within the majority population.

About the partners in the pilot action

Initiative Minderheiten supported and supervised the film project with the working title “ZeitdreherInnen” by director Eric Bayala and the association Verein Sahel Tirol. Eric Bayala is musician, poet, passionate screenwriter and director of four documentaries with a focus on interculturality, most recently Widerklang der Seele (AT 2017, 86 min). Born in Burkina Faso, home to the African Film Festival, he lives with his family in Igls since 2003, in 2006 he founded the association Verein Sahel Tirol, of which he is currently chairman. The association Verein Sahel Tirol strives to enable the cultural, economic and social exchange between the Sahel region and Tyrol, Austria. The main goal of the association is to support the intercultural dialogue between different actors from various social, economic and cultural backgrounds.

Verein Sahel Tirol is also active in the promotion and fundraising for development and educational projects as well as integrational projects in general and has already initiated and organized numerous projects.

Michael Haupt, manager of the Initiative Minderheiten Tirol, was supporting the volunteer during the film project. He has a rich experience in journalism as he worked as radio journalist for years and has also contributed to several film productions as director, actor and producer.

About the film project “Zeitdreherinnen“

The film asks artists of Tyrolean origin on their ideas about integration and how these ideas are represented in their work. As pilot action within the VAI – Volunteering Among Immigrants project the Initiative Minderheiten introduced and supported a volunteer working together with the film team. The volunteer Sofiya Darsaniya, originally from Abkhazia, Georgia, had to flee from her home country when she was seven years old because of the separation of Abkhazia from Georgia and the war that went along with that. Sofiya fled to Ukraine where she grew up and finally worked as a journalist. She worked for a magazine and wrote about corruption in Ukraine. Therefore she got in troubles and had to flee again, this time to Austria, where she now lives for a few years.

Since four years Sofiya Darsaniya is volunteering in the local community radio FREIRAD (another partner in the VAI – project) where she hosts a monthly radio show. The radio show, entitled „Thinking out loud“, covers various aspects of different cultures, music and topics like integration. She was also part of the volunteer editorial staff of the radio show “Voice of peace” at FREIRAD, that was formed by refugee journalists from different countries and held its programme in Arabic, English, Persian and German. That’s what they say themselves about their programme: “Hear about the problems of refugees in Austria and discuss ways to find solutions. Interviews about their experiences in their country and their new home here in Austria. We want to increase the chances of integration between the Austrian society and refugees by raising the level of awareness among the refugees about asylum laws and public life in Austria. The program wants to give a voice to those, who don’t have one yet and to give them a platform, where they can share their stories.”

We mention that experience of Sofiya because it’s important to know about her skills and what she brought into the film project. Summarized we can say that Sofiya had a rich experience in journalism and was therefore also an enrichment for the film project. Specially the circumstance that a refugee journalist asks the artists about their ideas of integration was very interesting and had a deep impact for the results and answers. On the other hand Sofiya learned a lot of making films and specially how a documentary film is done. As part of the pilot action the Initiative Minderheiten did an interview with Sofiya Darsaniya about her experiences in the film project. The interview can be seen on YouTube here:


It can be noticed that the work with Sofiya Darsaniya on the film project was a good experience for both sides. Her participation enrichted the film by adding a special perspective on the topic. Because Sofiya had already worked as a journalist she could bring in her journalistic skills and was a full member of the team. On the other hand Sofiya learned a lot about documentaries and how film work is done. But to close this report we let speak Sofiya herself:

“It was a great pleasure for me to hear from you that I can be a part of this project. During these shootings I’ve learned lot of things from you. What is necessary to find really interesting people for this project and all those people were important for us because they’re doing very important job. They are trying with their performances to bring into Tyrolian society tolerant things. That is very necessary in 21st century. For me to work with you and to see everything what we are doing for this project was a big experience and I will use it in future. And I will try to use this knowledge that I got during this shooting with you.“