Australia’s First Refugee Film Festival – 18-23 June 2017

Refugee Week is quickly arriving – June 18th through til June 24th – and with it comes the continuation of Australia’s first ever refugee film festival. Co-ordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the Refugee Film Festival will be screening in Melbourne and Sydney with the ability to host your own screening in your own state.

The Refugee Film Festival launched in 2016 with a screening of the great documentary Constance on the Edge, and was fuelled by the successful screenings of the documentary Freedom Stories.

Head over to the Refugee Week website for screenings dates and to purchase tickets.

2017’s schedule includes the following films:

Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara

Most people think that colonialism in Africa has ended. But in the territory of Western Sahara, the end of European rule only gave way to a new occupation, this time by Morocco. Four decades later, the world continues to look the other way as the Sahrawi people face arrests, torture, and disappearances for demanding their independence.

Life Is Waiting, a new film by director Iara Lee, chronicles this struggle. What will it take for the people of Western Sahara to reverse decades of broken promises and gain their freedom? What lessons does Sahrawi resistance offer for nonviolent movements around the world? In Life Is Waiting, join an incredible cast of Sahrawi activists and artists as they offer their answers.

In Procedure

A Syrian father flees to the Netherlands, to save his young daughter who is seriously ill. The long wait during the asylum procedure delays the daughters’ hope for recovery and this makes him desperately doubt his decision to flee Syria.

The Staging Post

The Staging Post follows Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai, two Afghan Hazara refugees who were stuck in Indonesia after Australia ‘stopped the boats’. Facing many years of limbo they built a community, started the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC) and then created a refugee education revolution.

A real-life, real-time, multi-platform documentary. The Staging Post is about friendship, connection and the power of a single voice.

The Land Between

THE LAND BETWEEN offers an intimate insight into the hidden and desperate lives of Sub-Saharan African migrants living in the mountains of northern Morocco. For most, their dream is to enter Europe by jumping a highly-militarised barrier into Melilla, a Spanish enclave on the African continent.

With unique and unprecedented access, this film documents the everyday life of these migrants trapped in limbo, as well as the extreme violence and constant mistreatment they face from both the Moroccan and Spanish authorities. It also explores many universal questions, including how and why people are prepared to risk everything, including their life, to leave their country, their family and friends, in search of a new and better life.

Constance on the Edge

One family. Two wars. Three countries. What does it take to forge a new life far from home? 

Filmed over 10 years, Constance on the Edge is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of one refugee family’s resettlement story in Australia. Brave, lion-hearted, charismatic Constance, mother of six, confronts her painful past in war torn Sudan, and risks everything in Australia so her family can thrive. Mary, Constance’s niece, finds it impossible to find a job. Vicky, her daughter, studies every morning from 4am, hoping to get into university. Charles, 23, is struggling with alienation and depression.

Constance on the Edge gets to the heart of a contemporary untold story about the courage and resilience it takes to build new lives. The film also highlights the important role communities play in encouraging a sense of welcoming, healing and belonging.

Andrew caught up with Constance on the Edge director, Belinda Mason, to discuss the making of the film. Give that a listen below, and make sure to buy your tickets to a wonderful, entertaining film – you won’t regret it.

Andrew has been a film lover all of his life. For a while now he's been talking about how great films are and usually that's been directly to his wife, Bernadette. Now with AB Film Review everyone else in the world can listen to what Andrew has to say to his wife. Bernadette grew up renting videos from a Plains Video. She mostly hired out Cry Baby and wore the tape thin learning the lines to the John Waters classic. After a series of arguments in the car ride home with her husband, Andrew, the two decided to record their arguments and launch them into the world for everyone to listen to.