My short film, MANUS, is an official selection for the 2019 St. Kilda Film Festival in Melbourne running from 21st to the 30th June. MANUS screens at the SKFF on Saturday the 22nd June at 1.30pm.
MANUS is a 13 minute film, which deals specifically with the situation faced by hundreds of asylum seekers still held captive by the Australian Government on Manus Island in PNG after almost 6 years. I created the film based around footage shot there by two-time Walkley award winning journalist Olivia Rousset when she secretly visited the men for a single night during a standoff last year when the Detention facility at Lombrum on Manus Island was closed. The men were ordered to move to new centres nearby on Manus but hundreds refused to leave resulting in a standoff that lasted several weeks. The film focuses entirely on the testimonials of the men, and includes at the end, a poem about Manus written by Kurdish journalist, award-winning writer, and asylum seeker on Manus, Behrouz Boochani, voiced by him for the film in Farsi.
I wanted the public to hear from the men themselves in this film, something that happens too rarely and suits the Federal government who has continually tried to keep those on Manus and Nauru invisible. I've attempted to create a carefully crafted film about innocent people in a long, brutal predicament, told in their own words, intended to provide powerful insights into their situation and humanise their plight for the public. The objective of all the films I'm making is to contribute towards the public rediscovering their compassion and contributing to a change in our collective approach of how we deal with those fleeing war and persecution. We need to recognise that those who arrive are not criminals or illegal. They are simply people running for their lives who seek our help and we need to begin helping them instead of adding further to their suffering. This is a film about humanity and solidarity”.