New online documentary on child refugees sheds light on current situation with Bakhtiyari brothers
As the Immigration Department flies the two Bakhtiyari brothers back to the Woomera Detention Centre, after the British Consulate in Melbourne denied them asylum yesterday, a new online documentary sheds light on the experience of young asylum seekers in Australia at http://abc.net.au/longjourney.
The Australian Film Commission and ABC New Media have published Long Journey, Young Lives, by Sohail Dahdal and David Goldie, which provides an intimate insight into the experiences of child refugees. From the violence and danger of their homeland, to their perilous journey and detention in Australia, young refugees present an uninhibited account of their experiences.
The documentary also explores the opinions of young Australians on issues surrounding asylum seekers. School children, all under the age of ten, express their views on mandatory detention, boat people, queue jumpers and consider whether Australia has a responsibility to accept refugees.
Long Journey, Young Lives takes a unique, highly interactive approach to the medium of online documentary. The project features 40 'micro documentaries' - each one a series of clips featuring either a refugee child discussing their experience or an Australian child sharing their thoughts on asylum seekers.
The user can interact with each micro documentary by selecting which clips they'd like to watch and listen to. As they watch each micro documentary, they are also offered a selection of other relevant material, such as links to associated sites, background information, opinion pieces on the subjects discussed, information about the places the children came from and more.
"The issue of asylum seekers in this country has polarised the population.It's virtually impossible to find anyone, anywhere in Australia, who doesn't have a firm opinion on the subject. We had to find a way of presenting the refugee experience in a fresh way, without getting bogged down in predictable emotionalism, and the political rhetoric from both sides. It came to us in a flash; 'children' was the answer. Only child refugees and Australian school kids could present and explore this sensitive issue in a totally fresh and unencumbered way," says co-producer David Goldie.
The AFC/ABC New Media Documentary Online initiative was established to encourage exciting and adventurous projects that exploit the possibilities of the Internet and challenge conventional documentary forms. Long Journey, Young Lives is one of four projects funded under the initiative.
ABC New Media
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