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Film screening 'Chauka, please tell us the time' and Q&A

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In collaboration with Amnesty International Cambridge City Group we will be screening ’Chauka, please tell us the time’. The film gives an insight into life in the Australian off-shore detention centres for asylum seekers and refugees in Papua New Guinea. The film screening (90min) will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s Director & Producer Arash Kavali Sarvestani.

Synopsis: Since 2013 the Australian Government has been incarcerating refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat on Manus Island and Nauru. The Manus Island compound currently detains a refugee who is also a journalist. This individual strives to gather information for an Australian journalist visiting the island and who wants to publish an article in the press about events in the detention facility. At the center of his investigation is a solitary confinement cell called Chauka, which is like a prison inside the prison. Some of the detainees speak to the refugeejournalist about their horrific experiences in the camp -especially in Chauka. At the same time, the visiting Australian journalist is investigating what Chauka means for the local Manusians. It appears that Chauka is the name of a bird which can be found only on Manus Island; it is the symbol of the island and decorates its flag. She speaks to some of the locals. Both the detained journalist and the visiting Australian journalist critically analyse different aspects the situation. We encounter first-hand experiences of what life inside the camp means, how it is governed, the political games between Australia and PNG on this matter, the way Manusians are treated by Australians, and the way locals think about the existence of the camp on their island.

Arash Kamali Sarvestani is an Iranian Dutch Filmmaker and Video Artist. Arash was born in Tehran, Iran on 1981. He has studied Cinema at the Art University of Tehran. In 2009 he moved to the Netherlande to study Video Art in Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. He graduated in 2013 and has been living in The Netherlands since then. During a workshop in 2015, Arash came up with the idea of making a film from inside a refugee camp, using only mobile phone cameras. After two years of investigation into refugees kept by the Australian government in Manus and Nauru, Arash found Behrooz Boochani who was (and still is) detained in Manus camp. Arash’s first feature film “Chauka, Please tell us the time” is a result of their cooperation.

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This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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