An important Animated Doc featuring the voices of Asylum Seekers detained on Manus Island, whilst en route to Australia. This animated doc is available on 99.media, a free platform broadcasting documentaries in 6 different languages.
“In July 2013, the Australian Government introduced a controversial immigration policy, transferring asylum seekers arriving by boat to remote offshore detention centres on foreign Pacific islands.
Seven months later, the Manus Island centre erupted in violence when police and guards put down protests with sticks, machetes and guns, and 23 year-old asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed.
We spoke to Behrouz and Omar, who are currently detained on Manus Island.
Inspired by a performance of the ‘Asylum Monologues’, Sander-Jackson approached the writers for permission to adapt the play into a shot animated film. The narrative addresses mental anguish, firstly in regards to the atrocities that motivated the narrator to flee their homeland and secondly in regards to their experience of detention while seeking asylum in the UK. Forward Maisokwadzo, a Zimbabwean resident of Bristol, provided the voiceover while Sander-Jackson constructed the animated visuals through an ink-on-board technique.
Possibly due to similarities in their process, parallels can be drawn between this film and the charcoal animations of William Kentridge. In addition to the dank grey-scale palette that both artists adopt, the style of visual storytelling is metamorphic; a stream of pictorial references merging from one to the next. The sequential blurring of nightmarish scenes evokes the haunting and intangible nature of traumatic memory.
The film seems to exist in two forms; three minutes (available on George’s blog) and a one-minute-thirty version which can be found in DepicT!’s 2008 archive. This is the Watershed’s super-short filmmaking competition that operates as a part of Bristol’s Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival.
Sander-Jackson continued to develop the technique he used in ‘No-One is Illegal’ for a section of the feature film ‘A Liar’s Autobiography’, which I reviewed for this blog back in March 2013. George Sander-Jackson works as a director at Arthur Cox and teaches part time at the University of the West of England, Bristol.