The Film That's 'Upsetting' Aussie Politicians & Public - Hope 103.2

The Film That’s ‘Upsetting’ Aussie Politicians & Public

It’s “the film the Australian Government doesn’t want you to see”—and it’s selling tickets surprisingly fast, for a social activism documentary.

By Clare BruceTuesday 21 Jun 2016MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

It’s “the film the Australian Government doesn’t want you to see” according to the trailerand it’s selling tickets surprisingly fast, for a social activism documentary.

It is Chasing Asylum – a film screening nation-wide, made of interviews and footage captured covertly over the past two years, mostly at Australia’s Nauru and Manus Island immigration detention centres.

The filmmaker Eva Orner told The Feed on SBS that the film is “upsetting”, “horrific”, and tells a story the Australian public is largely unaware of because of the government’s “policy of secrecy”.

“People like me – journalists, film makers, cameras – are not allowed into detention centres and no-one has seen what is going on,” Eva told SBS. “It’s a criminal offense for people to speak out about conditions on Manus and Nauru. If you are a government employee…and you speak about conditions there, that’s a criminal offense with two years jail time. That’s completely unacceptable.

“The average person doesn’t know that we are the only country in the world that keeps children in indefinite detention, that people are dying in detention and our taxpayer dollar is paying for it.”

While she acknowledges the complexity of the situation, Ms Orner believes Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers must change.

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“No-one is saying we have to let everyone in… but do we have to stop torturing and killing people, [stop] keeping children in detention, and start processing them under the refugee convention we are a signatory to,” she said.

She hopes the film will upset viewers enough to prompt them into compassion and action. As for politicians, Ms Orner offered the ALP leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tickets to see the film, but neither have taken up her offer—nor have they been inside the Manus or Nauru detention centres, she said.

Beyond Festival Calling Individuals To Action

An image from 'Chasing Asylum'

Above: An image from the film ‘Chasing Asylum’

One of the many groups backing the film is the social justice organisation Beyond Festival. While Beyond rose out of the ashes of the Black Stump Christian music festival, it’s now aimed at anyone interested in justice and compassion regardless of faith or creed.

Director Andrew Palmer is hosting a screening of Chasing Asylum this Wednesday at Chatswood and believes the film will shed light on what political parties are trying to hide.

Chasing Asylum film

“In an election cycle, both major parties [have been] conflating ideas of terrorism and economic migration with asylum. When those terms are used in the same speech they’re heard as being the same. There’s a conflation that happens at that’s deeply unhelpful and fundamentally untrue.”

Mr Palmer’s thrilled that the Chatswood screening’s 100 seats sold out so quickly that another 80 seats were opened up.

“The fact that were’ selling out a cinema on a State of Origin night, I think is indicative of the importance and the level of awareness about this issue.”

See The Chasing Asylum Film

Chasing Asylum

The release of Chasing Asylum is in conjuction with Refugee Week, June 19-25, and screenings are being held Australia-wide.

Locations of screenings being held in and around Sydney include Newtown, Paddington, Chatswood, Bankstown, Randwick, Cronulla, Brookvale, Miranda, Cremorne, Bondi Junction, Liverpool, Wollongong, Castle Hill, Parramatta, Mount Victoria and the Central Coast.

See the film website for a full list of screening dates and locations.