TBS spoke to Lukas Shrank, director of short film Nowhere Line, which puts images to his real conversations with those stuck on Manus Island.
At the end of 2014, I received a phone call from a private number.
I answered hesitantly…a few seconds of static and the crackling of a long distance line…and then: “Hello, do you have my voice?” After five months of failed attempts, I had finally made contact with Behrouz, a detainee of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
Over the next few weeks, I was able to record over three hours of conversations with Behrouz and Omar, who had been in detention for over a year. They had both decided to leave their home countries swiftly, fearing for their lives. Like many others in the region, they attempted to travel to Christmas Island via Indonesia, to make a claim for asylum in Australia. Two and a half years later, they remain in limbo, having been stripped of their human rights, unable to continue with their lives, and unable to return home.
Behrouz and Omar are the voices of Nowhere Line an animation documentary which began as a response to the propaganda comic the government distributed in Afghanistan.
Like many in the creative industry, I felt that this piece of works was an over-simplified and unjust depiction of a migrant’s story; after the deaths of Reza Berati and Hamid Khazaei, some kind of response needed to be created.
Since the completion of the film, the story has become even more relevant, and on a much larger scale. With hundreds of thousands of migrants entering Europe, countries are looking to Australia as a success story of how to address this problem.
Nowhere Line illustrates the true human cost of that success.