Docu to tackle treatment of asylum seekers

28 May, 2014 by Don Groves

Filmmaker Eva Orner is so angry about the Australian government’s policies on asylum seekers she is making a theatrical documentary on the vexed subject.

The Los Angeles–based director/producer today launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $200,000 for the docu entitled Bloody UnAustralian.


She’s already raised $320,000 from private investors in Australia and one US benefactor, and plans to shoot in Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Australia and- if she gains access- detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

“A few months ago I decided I can’t sit back anymore and watch what is happening to Australia with asylum seekers,” says Orner, who made The Network, a behind-the-scenes look at the largest TV network in Afghanistan.

“Despite being front page news in Oz, and getting a little press internationally, people outside Australia don't seem to know anything about the issue.

“Like 27% of the population, I am a first generation Australian. My parents migrated to Australia in 1958 from Eastern Europe after their families were decimated in the Holocaust.

“What I have learnt growing up in the shadow of genocide is that when something is wrong you must speak up and demand change.”

She intends to examine why “Australia rejects and persecutes desperate asylum seekers, breaks international law, defies the UN and Amnesty, locks people away indefinitely, denies them basic human rights and places them in danger.”

Robert Connolly has agreed to serve as executive producer and to distribute the docu in Australian cinemas via his company CinemaPlus.

If she hits her target of $500,000 the production will qualify for the 40% producer offset. She aims to start shooting in July and figures it will take about a year.

“There are currently 43 million refugees in the world,” she says. “Australia accepts 0.2% . Per capita, we rank 68th in the world. We are clearly not doing our share.

“It’s time to take a stand in a high profile way. To make a film telling the story of how it’s come to this in Australia. And how we get out of it. To screen it across Australia and around the world, make a noise, and help facilitate change. As an educated, wealthy, first world country we have to find a better way than abject cruelty.”

The Indiegogo campaign closes on July 10. “I'll keep supporters updated along the journey and look forward to screening the film in Australia and around the world at festivals, in theatres, on VOD and television,” she says on her Indiegogo page. “We have a bunch of great perks too, and we look forward to sharing those with our supporters.”

Orner won an Academy Award and an Emmy for producing Taxi to the Dark Side, a critical look at the Bush administrations torture policies post 9/11.
Here are the links: