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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

I’d entered into a partnership with Optimism, with whom I thought the dividends would be fantastic, but I find that our collaborative venture has taken a dive.  What led to this slump in optimism? The truth lies in a darkened cinema which frequently provides hours of pleasure. I’ve always liked the predictable Hollywood formula for cowboy westerns because the goodies always kill the baddies. Certainly the movie Avatar fulfilled my expectations with three dimensional environmental crusaders saving the natural environment.  The problem is not all films stick to simplistic formulas. There are those rogue independent film makers who integrate fiction with social reality such as Philippe Lioret in the film Welcome.

Welcome left me pondering the plight of refugees from war torn areas of the globe. I began to ask questions about the number of asylum seekers in France compared to those seeking asylum in Australia. Google quickly presented me with answers from the 2009 United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) annual report.

Last year 45% of all asylum seekers came from Asia. Refugee applicants from Afghanistan increased by 45% making it the major country of origin for asylum seekers. Of the 44 industrialised countries included in the report, France received 41,980 applications from asylum seekers making it the country with the second largest number of applicants. The US had the largest number. During the same period Australia received a mere 6,170 applications. So why is there such brew ha ha about the number of refugees arriving by boat in Australia? Why is anyone surprised by the number of refugees arriving from Afghanistan when the home countries of refugees seeking asylum in Australia are aligned with international trends?

The rhetoric of the Rudd Labor government and Tony Abott has been challenged by many individuals and groups within Australia, but I want to offer a challenge to Australian Independent filmmakers. Why is no-one making contemporary dramas about the challenges facing those refugees who make it to Christmas Island?  What about our latest offering, the Curtin Defence facility in Western Australia which is so remote that it’s impossible to deliver adequate services for traumatised individuals. Mainstream Australia needs to view homegrown films like Welcome if we are to change attitudes to asylum seekers in Australia.

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