For A Better Life

Directed and Produced by Yasmin Mistry Foster Care Film, 2018, 9:21 minutes, The short animated film “For A Better Life” is the story of Tunisia-forn Fekri Kram. Growing up with an abusive father, Fekri’s early childhood was a difficult struggle for survival. When he was 5 years old, Fekri was caught stealing food from a local market. With the severe punishment of cutting off a hand, Fekri was saved from that fate at the last minute by a tourist. That event, ultimately, led to Fekri being sold to the tourist, Florence, for $100. Florence took Fekri to France, where at first it seemed as if he’d found a way to a better life. But once there, she began to sexually and physically abuse him. For four years he traveled with the woman while he was tortured privately by her. Eventually, Florence married, Brian, who was actually a positive in Fekri’s life. At 9 years old Fekri and his “family” traveled to New York for Brian’s work. After starving Fekri for two weeks, Florence severely abused him before someone intervened. Fekri was hospitalized for longer than a year when he was 10, and Florence ended up serving five years in prison before being deported. Fekri ended up in foster care, living in multiple homes. This experience brought all of the trauma and suffering to the forefront and Fekri’s behavior was out of control. Eventually, this dark path led him to attempt suicide, which was thwarted by a passerby. Once he got into Little Flower treatment facility his life began to improve. Therapy and nurses helped him grow and address this early childhood trauma. He lived there for nine years. Fekri’s story is the heartbreaking reality for so many children who are trafficked. “For A Better Life” is a unique depiction for the story, using animation coupled with poetry and rap music. A lot of youth will relate to Fekri’s story of abandonment, and some will even relate to the aspect of human trafficking. This short film is definitely a must-watch for young people in the foster care system who are struggling. Fekri’s story offers hope and inspiration to others who’ve experienced similar struggles. This film follows a growing list of moving, award-winning films (“Feeling Wanted,” “My Identity,” “Family Rewritten”) by Foster Care Film that share the unique challenges and setbacks that foster youth experience. — Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel

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