The Staging Post tour of Australia (and the world).
Five years ago, I was living in Jakarta when Australia ‘stopped the boats’. I realised that I had never met a refugee and decided to find out who they were, where they came from and what they were going to do now? I drove to Cisarua, a small village outside of Jakarta and the staging post for the boats to Christmas Island. That trip marked the beginning of the journey of my life.
I quickly met two refugees, Muzafar and Khadim. Muzafar had worked for the United Nations and was a photographer. Khadim was 17-year's old and had been filming his life on his mobile phone. We liked each other straight away and connected through our creative work. We decided to start a project together.
Soon after, Muzafar and Khadim co-founded a refugee-led school, the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC). It was the first refugee-led school in Indonesia and inspired a refugee-led education revolution. There are now about 5 refugee-led schools in Indonesia, representing over 1,500 refugees staffed by around 100 volunteer refugee teachers. The transformation is captured in our feature documentary, The Staging Post. The documentary is a key element in attracting supporters to the schools and inspiring refugees to start their own initiatives.
In the second half of 2017 we self-released the film at cinemas and, through word-of-mouth and social media, it grew from strength to strength. With a 2017 box office of over AUD $40,000 we were the 14th most successful Australian documentary in Australian cinemas. So far in 2018, we have reached AUD $25,000 and are the 5th highest grossing Australian documentary. We have held well over 100 screenings, including many at schools and universities. Each screening is an opportunity to introduce Australians to a refugee for the first time. We often include a Q&A with Muzafar, now living in Australia on a Humanitarian Visa, or a Skype discussion with the refugee teachers and students at CRLC in Indonesia.
Informed by The Staging Post, a borderless community has formed around the refugee-led education centres in Indonesia and this community of refugees are also educating Australians. We accompany, encourage and educate each other and help each other to overcome and manage our respective journeys and challenges.
Director - The Staging Post