Three little words can mean so much.
Stop the Boats.
The Australian policies that uphold these three words are the premise for Chasing Asylum a documentary by award-winning film-maker Eva Orner. Orner's name will be familiar to audience who have watched Taxi to the Dark Side, an investigation into allegations of torture by Americans in their fight against ‘terror’. Similarly, Chasing Asylum is an exposé into the human realities of political slogans and the policies that give them legs.
Orner isn’t questioning if stopping the boats is a necessary endeavor. Instead, she asks us to witness the people who live out the reality of this hard-line stance. Such a reality is summed up perfectly by a former dentition camp director when he explains the shift from a center initially designed to process refugee claims, to a place intended to be ‘worse than the place you fled from’.
Chasing Asylum grabs at the very guts of human morality and asks Australian audiences, how did we come to this?
The film balances Interviews and secretly recorded footage with statistics that stir up frustration towards the horrifically absurd approach to refugee migration.
The government spends $500,000 per year on each person living in detention.
Australia ranks 67th in the World for intake of refugees.
The Australian Government announced it would take a once off additional 12,000 refugees fleeing Syria. On the same day Australian fighter jets carried out their first air offensive in Syria.
Orner is clearly against the current political approach to deter boat arrivals and it is here that the documentary has room for more contrasting opinions. However, her main intention is to allow audiences to witness an Australian reality that will surely stain our history as our policies devour the lives of some of the neediest people in the world.
A hard watch, but a necessary one.
Chasing Asylum is in selected cinemas now.
by Alysia Antonucci