about the documentary
the documentary engages with the stories and experiences of five women on the Greek island Lesvos. Lesvos has been one of the main arrival point for people on the move towards Europe. The women depicted in the movie all have their own story about how they reached the island. Together they offer a unique perspective on what happened and is happening on Lesvos: From the first refugees arriving on the island, the conditions in refugee camp Moria, autonomous living, friendship and mutual aid in a squatted building in the middle of Lesvos' capital. This way the documentary shows the brutalities of the European border regime. At the same time it shows ways in which people, individually and collectively, try to carve out moments and spaces of humanity, autonomy dignity and freedom.
about the women portrayed in the movie
Alice, Nora, Xenia, Casey and Cris came to Lesvos for different reasons. Xenia who grew up on Lesvos came back a couple of years to work as an architect and study Human Geography. As an inhabitant of the island there was almost no other choice than support those, that come as refugees to the island. Casey, Nora and Cris came as volunteers and where active with different groups that organize direct support and mutual aid networks on Lesvos. Alice came as a refugee to Lesvos and lived in the closed refugee camp called Moria until it was unbearable for her and her unborn child. Together they offer a unique perspective on the island. From the staggering injustice and violence of European border policy to beauty and transformative power of human encounter, bottom-up organizing and friendship, the movie will take you through the many faces of the island and its inhabitants.
Lesvos, with its ca. 16000m², is the third biggest Greek island and one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean. It has been in the international spotlight in 2015 when thousands of refugees arrived Lesvos on their way to Western Europe. Whereas for many Lesvos was only a stop on the journey, others are stuck there with no real possibility to move on in sight. Although Greece has pleaded for help from the European Union, other members states have not much more to offer than words and guns. Instead of rescuing people from drowning and offering them a humane possibility to either stay, move or start their procedure people are forced to stay on the island for undetermined time. Much of the search and rescue efforts as well as humanitarian relief on the island had to be taken over by NGO'S and other autonomously operating groups. However, their work has become more and more difficult due to funding shortages and growing state repression. Lesvos, as beautiful as it is, has become a prison for many and stands as a symbol for one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the midst of Europe.
organize and engage!
A few words on activism and engagement. I believe in the power of communities and social movements. I want to advocate strongly to get involved and to be a critical part of this society. Because this is how this movie was born: from 2015 on, I felt overwhelmed with what was going in Europe. With the desire to get active and put direct contact and mutual learning first, I co-founded the solidarity group justPeople in the Netherlands. We went to an emergency refugee camp that was tucked away in a forest, prepared with coffee and tea. Just to meet people, get to know each other and organize. Still, this remains a very empowering experience. So, if you feel powerless and you have the impression like your government is not putting humans and their rights first: organize and engage.
If you want to read more on how to get active locally or somewhere else read my thoughts on this here! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me!
Engage, listen and inform!
I am a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist with a heart for social movements. I believe in the power of communities & mutual aid. I just went to Lesvos in Greece to apply myself in solidarity networks and make a documentary about it.
Filmmaker/ Producer: Laura Heinig
This project would not have been possible without funds from Alert Youth Fund and all the people who crowdfunded the movie. The same is true for the support, both material and immaterial by the justPeople collective and many old and new friends. I can not stress enough the tremendous respect for the women portrayed in the movie, the people active at No Border Kitchen Lesvos as well as Mosaik Support Center, OHF Lesvos, Lesvos Solidarity and of course the many who risk their lives in the search for a better future. This movie is dedicated to all of you. Yours, L
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