Afghanistan Needs You

DOCUMENTARY IN REFUGEE CAMPS “DREAM OF A FOREIGN LAND”

Documentary's Trailer

The Dream of A Foreign Land film documentary's full trailer. The documentary reflects the condition and stories of Afghan refugees and migrants in Turkey, Greece and Germany. This documentary film will be released soon!#AfghanistanNeedsYou

‎Posted by Afghanistan Needs You on‎ 14 مۍ, 2017

The team’s original plan to follow an Afghan family throughout their journey to reach Germany was cut short due to our Schengen visa restrictions, which allowed 20 days only. Hence, the team improvised to create a three-segment documentary on the lives of Afghans in Turkey, Greece and Germany that challenges the idealistic image of migrating to Europe. The team put together these three segments to showcase the hardship that migration to Europe brings with it, with real life experiences of migrants in three situations: a. Those trying to get to Europe from Turkey b. Those who have reached Greece and are trying to get to other European countries c. Those migrants living in Germany The Afghanistan Needs You team arrived in Berlin on January 11th. Using the coordination of local contacts, the team was able to visit two refugee camps in Berlin: Prisod and Tempelhof. Due to strict access and after many attempts the team was only able to film the Tempelhof Emergency Shelter, which is an abandoned airport.

The team interviewed one of the registered asylum seekers of Prisod refugee camp in Berlin. Tempelhof currently holds 800 registered refugees, including Syrians, Afghans and other nationalities. In Tempelhof, our team was able to profile one of the Afghan refugees, Sayed Naqeebullah Hashimi, who could sing, draw, and had great talent in calligraphy as well. He has been stuck in the Tempelhof Emergency Shelter for more than a year. During this period, the lack of privacy, and the psychological pressure due to the prolonged process have caused him to develop psychological disorders, ‘’I cry and laugh without any reason, sometimes,’’ he said. We interviewed the Camp Manager from TAMAJA (A local company that manages the emergency shelter). TAMAJA provided us with extensive technical information regarding the Tempelhof emergency shelter, the bureaucratic process, and the condition of Afghan refugees within the camp. In addition, we interviewed the pro and anti-migrant activists and their responses to our questions are part of the documentary. The Afghan community within Tempelhof gave us a warm welcome and expressed their happiness with our visit. One of the Afghans in the emergency shelter said, “You are the first Afghans from Afghanistan to visit us. Until now, we have not had a single representative from the government or people of Afghanistan come and talk to us about our problems and conditions.” The team stayed in Tempelhof for 5 days to cover all aspects of their lives there and to have in depth knowledge of their daily conditions and routines. On January 21st, the team travelled to Athens, Greece. During the short visit there, the team was able to get into one of the refugee camps in Athens, called Eleonas, which is located in the outskirts of Athens. We found several Afghan refugees that have either willingly registered themselves for deportation back home or are afraid of getting deported. In the Eleonas camp, largely Afghans, Syrian and Iraqis are housed. Afghans that were staying in this camp claim they are not considered a priority, because they are Afghans, and that they face worse conditions than other refugees from other countries, such as Syria. Due to the strict rules posed by Greek police we were only able to film some parts of the camp.

On January 24th, the Afghanistan Needs You team travelled to the center of Athens to investigate rumors of minors being forced into prostitution, and they made significant discoveries during their stay. They planned to find some people in Victoria park (where drug dealings take place) in the center of Athens, and we figured out that many underage Afghan refugees are selling drugs to meet their financial needs; this is a another issue that we have covered over there.

The team then travelled to Lesvos by sea, the closest island to Turkey and the ideal place for hundreds of thousands of migrants who flee to Greece from Turkey. “After March 20th based on EU-Turkey deal, any immigrant, migrant or refugee who crosses the sea will be sent to Moria camp which is located in a remote area of Lesvos. Moria camp is more of a detention center,” said Emmanual Chatzichalkias, a lawyer. The security conditions within this camp are very strict, and Greek police control this camp, where outsiders are not permitted, especially for the purpose of research and filming.

A week before our arrival to Lesvos, an Egyptian man died in his tent. The cause of his death was unknown until we later interviewed one of Greek lawyers, who facilitated the application of asylum seekers in Lesvos. ‘’He died, because he showered with cold water in winter,” said Emmanuel the lawyer.

Due to the strict security parameters in Moria camp, the team snuck into the camp as Afghan migrants and then they were able to meet an Afghan family, a member of which had attempted suicide, but fortunately survived. Then we went to another camp called Kara Tepe; this camp was basically for families. Therefore, we were able to visit the camp officially as we coordinated with the camp authorities, but  they did not let us film or talk to Afghan families in the camp.

Finally, the team traveled to Turkey on January 28th, 2017 and stayed in Istanbul until February 8th to cover the last part of the documentary and lives of Afghan migrants/ refugees. The team met several Afghan migrants/refugees who traveled to Turkey last year. Most of the Afghan migrants/refugees based in Turkey are collecting trash from the streets to finance themselves. The lives of Afghan migrants are really challenging; they are pretending to be happy with their life in Istanbul, but things are opposite for them. The team returned to Afghanistan and completed the post-production activities, including but not limited to rough cut and story-building, technical corrections, sounds and coloring, narration, titles, and sub-titles. The official teaser and trailer of the documentary were released from social m e d i a platforms, and the documentary will be officially launched by the Ministry of Repatriation and Refugees and the High Commission of Refugees, chaired by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. In addition, several official screenings will be organized with relevant embassies and international organizations. The documentary has been exported in different formats to be used on TV and other media.