Chasing Asylum

Watch Chasing Asylum

"The film the Australian Government doesn't want you to see"
  • 2016
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.2  (311)

Chasing Asylum is a powerful and illuminating documentary that takes an unflinching look at Australia’s highly controversial policy towards asylum seekers. Directed by Eva Orner, the film provides an unprecedented and deeply troubling glimpse into the brutal reality faced by those fleeing war, persecution, and other forms of violence.

The documentary begins with a powerful and unsettling image: the carcass of a small boat, washed up and abandoned on the rocky shore of an Australian island. The boat’s occupants, we soon learn, were asylum seekers from war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, who risked everything to make the perilous journey to Australia in search of safety and security.

But what they found was something altogether different. Under Australia’s strict immigration policy, known as Operation Sovereign Borders, asylum seekers arriving by boat are intercepted by the Australian navy, turned back, and transported to offshore detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island. These facilities, which are run by private contractors and paid for by Australian taxpayers, have been repeatedly condemned by human rights groups for their harsh conditions, lack of medical care, and reports of physical and sexual abuse.

Through a mix of personal testimonies, hidden camera footage, and interviews with former guards and officials, Chasing Asylum paints a devastating portrait of life inside these detention centers. We see overcrowded cells, cramped living conditions, and refugees suffering from mental illness, depression, and self-harm. We hear firsthand accounts of beatings, sexual assault, and the denial of basic human rights such as adequate medical treatment and legal representation.

These stories are made all the more poignant by the fact that Australia has long prided itself on being a beacon of freedom and democracy, a nation that welcomes refugees and offers them a new start. But as the documentary makes clear, these ideals are being undermined by a government that has chosen to criminalize rather than humanize those fleeing persecution.

The film also provides a devastating critique of the Australian media, which has largely ignored or downplayed the plight of asylum seekers, instead choosing to focus on sensationalist stories about “boat people” and “queue jumpers”. Through interviews with journalists and insiders, Chasing Asylum reveals how the media has helped to shape public opinion on immigration, inflaming fears and prejudices and allowing the government to manipulate public sentiment for its own purposes.

Despite the bleakness of its subject matter, Chasing Asylum is a well-crafted and engaging documentary, one that will leave viewers with a deep sense of outrage and a renewed commitment to human rights. It is a powerful reminder that our shared humanity is more important than borders, papers, or political ideology, and that we must never forget the basic principles of compassion and justice that underpin our world.

Overall, Chasing Asylum is a compelling, deeply moving film that deserves to be seen by anyone who cares about human rights, social justice, and the plight of refugees. Through its intimate and unflinching portrayal of one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, it offers a powerful call to action for all those who seek to create a more just and compassionate world.

Chasing Asylum
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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (311)