By Sharon Abella | Indiewire June 10, 2014 at 2:59PM
Held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC
The annual Human Rights Film Festival goes where so many fear to tread by devoting attention to people and issues that are so often ignored and neglected. Travel to distant countries, and observe how different cultures and societies are run.
Sharing the viewpoints from many perspectives; the migrant, the case worker, the locals, and the government, the film’s impact is extremely powerful.
June 15, 2014 at 7pm at IFC, and on
June 17, 2014 at 9:15pm at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Screening followed by discussion with filmmaker Iva Radivojevic
Presented with: Independent Filmmaker Project, http://www.ifp.org
Part 1: An Island in the Sun
The viewer is reminded how migrants risk their lives on a daily basis, traveling by boat from countries in turmoil with the hopes of settling in an EU country. For example, many travel from Tunisia to Croatia and Italy, or journey from Syria to Cyprus, because it is considered one of the easiest ports of entry. All too often, the outcome is unsuccessful.
Cyprus, a multicultural island with a Greek Cypriot majority and a Turkish Cypriot minority, consists of a population made up of 25% immigrants from Sri Lanka and the Phillipines, Russians, Christian Orthodox, Eastern Europeans who fled the Balkan Wars, Romanian’s and Bulgarians, and Bangladeshi, Chinese, and African college students.
The Capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is the only military divided city in Europe.
In 1974, Greek Cypriot nationalists attempted a coup d’etat, and Turkey invaded Cyprus, turning many Cypriots into refugees.
Part 2: The Visitors
Many refugees make their way from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Palestinians from Iraq, and register as asylum seekers at the immigration center in Cyprus. As can be imagined, they come searching for stability and a future for their children, because, in Syria, many of their families have been killed, have disappeared, or have been threatened.
50 year old Palestinian professor and Physics researcher, who was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and left Syria with his wife and son to escape the suffering, have traveled into Cyprus using fake Algerian passports. He shares his heart wrenching story of the discrimination he has faced.
Part 3: Fear’s Invention
Shares the side of the story from the case workers, and their conundrum of where the migrants are supposed to live and work in the small nation of only 800,000 people.
The migrants will often lie about their religious beliefs, and health status, in order to be eligible for benefit pay. Resentment builds by the locals who work for low wages, while they see that the refugees receive pay for doing no work.
The Anti-Fascist parties also share their negative feelings regarding the migrants, and believe the migrants bring problems to the country, such as, unemployment.
Part 4: Imagined Identity
The harsh reality. Tent cities, benefits being taken away, long hours, low wages, missing children, hunger strikes and suicide plagues the area.
Part 5: Evaporating Borders
Migrants starting to believe they are criminals who have overstayed their welcome. The EU’s assistance towards the Cyprus Government in order to cover the benefits for the Asylum seekers. The laws the asylum seekers are entitled to.