To its backers, Woomera detention centre played a so-called “humane yet crucial role in housing the growing numbers of ‘boat people’ landing on Australia’s shores.” To its critics, this prison, as a heavily guarded cluster of buildings ringed by red desert and razor wire, represented the “dead-heart of asylum-seeker policy” and Australia’s lacklustre regard for human rights. Woomera opened for business less than four years ago. Built for 400 people, it soon housed more than 1,400. It became notorious for riots, protests and breakouts by desperate detainees. There were reports that mental illness and self-harm were rife and as the reports mounted, TV cameras captured the protests at the perimeter fence. Certain press warned of detainees’ declining health and morale. Yet when Woomera was quietly placed in mothballs last month, its full story remained to be told…
Payback Time recounts the experiences of Ramin Bakhtiarvandi as an asylum Seeker in Australia’s Detention Centres from June 2000. After his release from a 4 year long detention, Ramin receives a $227,000 bill from the government. Payback Time raises serious questions about the conduct of the Australian Government to this day when dealing with asylum seekers, as well as revealing the harsh realities of a racist culture and complicit mainstream media.
In Australia takes a candid look at the highs and lows of Australian society, circa 1976. The film ties together the workings of media manipulation in its early days, along with the removal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by Governor-General coup d’état—Kerr’s Cur—to demonstrate the common apathetic side of popular culture in the ‘lucky country.’ The film also touches on the subtlety of remnant class structures remaining from English heritage by revealing the workings of the ‘Occa’—a prudish stereotype of the common person portrayed and exploited by mainstream media, revealing views on immigration and racism in a country, ironically, colonised by immigrants.
To Know Us Is To Love Us covers the public reaction to a Vietnamese refugee camp constructed outside Fort Smith in Arkansas, 1975—not long after the end of the Vietnam war. The film documents the stories of the refugees coming to the United States, along with the reactions of American troops, the public and citizens who take in Vietnamese refugees to assimilate them into American life.