Manus Island is the setting for this unique collaboration between an Iranian-Kurdish journalist detainee and an Iranian-Dutch filmmaker, made with footage from a mobile phone.
Filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani and journalist Behrouz Boochani shared a love of cinema. They decided to create a unique record of daily life in the Manus Island detention centre. Boochani secretly captured footage on his mobile phone, sending it to The Netherlands to be shaped into a narrative. He filmed detainees phoning anxious relatives, ambulances arriving and fences being erected around the ramshackle camp. Their intention was "to document the situation so that in the future no political leader can present a distorted narration of the events" (The Saturday Paper). The film's title is a reference to an endemic bird that calls at a regular time – ironically marking out the days.
We found out that we both like Abbas Kiarostami, who was one of the greatest film directors in the world. We talked a lot about [him] and how we could make a film inspired by his work. – Behrouz Boochani, The Saturday Paper
Following a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees inspection of the Manus and Nauru camps, reported on by The Saturday Paper last year, grave assessments were made of the mental health of those on the islands. Psychiatrists reported dangerous deterioration – rates of severe depression and suicidal ideation were grossly high. Against this backdrop, it is remarkable that Boochani's artistic ambition has survived. In fact, his ego and purpose have not only survived but seem to have sharpened. It is a strange film he has made, deliberately numbing, but it contains a clear logic and a consistent, thoughtful aesthetic. – Martin McKenzie-Murray, The Saturday Paper
Festival guest: Arash Kamali Sarvestani, Behrouz Boochani
Talk: After the Sunday 11 June screening is Extended Q&A: Chauka Please Tell Us the Time at the Festival Hub, starting at 2.00 pm
Chauka Please Tell Us the Time is also screening in Melbourne at ACMI, please visit their website for more information.
Behrouz Boochani, Arash Kamali Sarvestani
Netherlands, Papua New Guinea
Farsi, English and Kurdish with English subtitles
Arash Kamali Sarvestani, Behrouz Boochani
Arash Kamali Sarvestani
International Documentaries, Politics & Economics, Human Rights, World Premieres
Production Company: Sarvin Productions