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Javier Bardem Movies 2013: Actor Supports the Saharawi Film Festival

First Posted: Sep 25, 2013 05:08 PM EDT

Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem is on a mission to help the plight of Saharawi refugees and hopes to shed light on the isolated region through the Sahara International Film Festival.

The Sahara International Film Festival, also known as FISahara, is an annual event which takes place in the Sahrawi refugee camps, at the South West corner of Algeria, near the border with Western Sahara. This year the event will run from Oct. 8-13.

The festival has gained a lot of support from donors from Spain - the former colonial power in Western Sahara, including Bardem's wife, Penélope Cruz, as well as other actors, Pedro Almodóvar, Luis Tosar and Victoria Abril. Peruvian film director Jasvier Corcuera also helped organze the first festival.

Bardem has been both personally and professionally invested in the cause since 2008 and has created a documentary spotlighting the political situation as well as speaking upon their behalf at the UN, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

Unlike any other film festival, this is the only one of its kind to take place in an actual refugee camp.  The goal is to "bring entertainment and culture to the thousands of Sahrawis whose community has lived for more than thirty years in relative isolation in the Algerian desert." 

According to THR, the festival will be attended by more than 200 international actors, directors, human rights and video activists and cinephiles, alongside thousands of Saharawi refugees. 

The passionate Bardem, moved by the event said, "To run an international film festival in a refugee camp deep in the Sahara desert is little short of a miracle," THR reported. "The 10th edition of FiSahara promises to be one of the best, not only entertaining and educating all who participate but also helping to raise awareness about the plight of the Saharawi refugees who have been exiled from their native Western Sahara for almost four decades."

In 2007, Bardem won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as psychopathic assassin Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men." He is married to his "Vicki Cristina Barcelona" co-star, actress Penelope Cruz and they have two chidren.

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