In 2015, Europe began to witness the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Over the past year more than one million refugees have arrived to Europe from Turkey, coming mostly from Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones. In 1951, all the member states of the European Union signed the protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons. Unfortunately, this code of law has not been met. Hence, without any safe routes or secure access to European soil, refugees have been forced to resort to the mafias and risk their lives in the process of doing so.
In September 2015 the member states of the EU pledged to meet a quota system for the reception of refugees, a total of 160,000. Currently, in Turkey alone, there are 2.7 million refugees. The situation took an unexpected and controversial turn on March 18. The European Commission signed an agreement with the government of Turkey, which according to various organizations, violates European legislation regarding refugees, migrants, and ultimately, human rights.
This documentary will review the current situation of refugees following the agreement signed between the European Union and Turkey on 20 March 2016.
The main focus of the film will be to question the reasons why the policy of the European Union took a recent radical shift between September 2015 and March 2016.
Furthermore, the attacks perpetrated by the Daesh in Paris this past November, and the Brussels bombings on March 22nd are the excuse for an unjustified association of refugees and Muslims with terrorists. According to the public opinion, the entrance of the "other" in many cases can be translated as "danger."
At the same time, in the context of economic and political crises, that has lasted for eight years, the current leaders fear that a reception policy goes against their aspirations in the next election. The rise of far-right parties in the polls causes fear, and the populist speeches make an effect when moderate leaders are not able to find solutions to the current economic crisis.
The recording of this documentary will take place from June 29th to August 8th in six different countries: Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. During this route we will interview European leaders for and against the treaty and migration experts will visit several refugee camps, detention centers, border controls, and political institutions.
We are a group of journalists and audiovisual creators, founders of laColumna.cat. LaColumna.cat was born in 2013 as a result of the confluence between the Association Arsomnia Productions and a group of journalism students from Barcelona.
Since then, laColumna.cat has been characterized as an anti-capitalist editorial. The outlet has been involvement in recording various social struggles and trying all sorts of topics, such as politics, geopolitics, culture and immigration.
We believe that the current information portrayed in the mass-media regarding the refugees dehumanizes the actual tragedy. Instead of addressing the issue taking into account the context, the traditional media is perpetuating an artificial coverage, proving non-factual information without any memory or decency, as if it were a matter of entertainment.
This project aims to denounce the current situation of refugees and critically examine the different factors that have perpetuated it. We will address the political, economic and geostrategic whys that determine the development of this humanitarian crisis.
For 38 days, a team of 6 people, consisting of two journalists, a director, two cameramen and a producer, will travel throughout the European continent and south of Turkey.
The funds necessary for the production of this documentary will come directly from this crowdfunding campaign.
However, all income that can generate the documentary once done, to reach the figure of 30,000 euros, will be reverted to Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders and other smaller organizations that provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and denounce the situation by reporting information from the field.
Once that goal is reached, the film's production will allocate 50% of the benefits to the same organizations. Our intention is that the contributions of our patrons come equally from Spain and the United States, where part of our team are involved in the production.
Logistically, a third of the budget goes to cover travel expenses (meals, accommodation in several hostels and hotels, car rentals, train tickets, boat and plane, subway passes, etc). In addition, production costs also include translators of Greek, Turkish, Arabic and German, filming permits and work materials, having at the same time a margin for unforeseen circumstances.
In total, the value of the trip amounts to approximately 1,600 euros per person. No team member will receive financial remuneration for their work and time, so that the coverage of basic needs in the course of the route is a minimum.
Moreover, the technical costs of the film amounted to 12,000 euros. The facts are documented with two, 4K video cameras to record in two units, and a drone for aerial imagery of the Aegean Sea and fields in the area. It will also will feature smaller video systems, for the moment when circumstances require it. Within this category diverse technical material is included such as; camera accessories, lenses, LED spotlights, unidirectional microphones, voice recorders, etc.
The third item of the budget will be devoted to defray costs related to the storage of archival materials and distribution.
About the rewards
The rewards received by our patrons vary depending on the contribution made by each.
Printed travel photographs will be delivered during the month of October. The documentary will premiere the second week of February in Barcelona and Los Angeles and tickets will be delivered by mail. Once released the documentary, we will distribute physical copies of the DVD, give access to online displays and deliver the books to our patrons.
Some of our patrons will receive a copy of our book, which will also be available through various channels. The book will be a travelogue with photographs, quotes, brief interviews and data about the refugee crisis. The realization of the book is intended to capture the essence of the film and many of the moments and experiences that are not part of such too.
The central production phase will take place in 6 different countries, from June 29th to August 8. At the same time, a team in Barcelona will mount and edit the bulk of the documentary.
Our main objective is to present the project during the official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place from 19 to 29 January 2017. The deadline for submitting the documentary project in the international category ends on September 26, 2016.
Once the film is released in the official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, we will distribute physical copies of the documentary video and a photography book amongst our patrons. Likewise, throughout the month of February we will organize various promotional events. This documentary will debut the second week of February in the cities of Barcelona and Los Angeles.
Photos by Maria Contreras Coll