Just a man. Just a family. Seeking asylum.
The ASRC is proud to have produced its first television commercial, and what an exciting process it was too. The goal of the commercial (or Community Service Announcement, which is what you call them when the networks run them for free) was to encourage viewers simply to think of asylum seekers as individuals. The commercial aims to stylistically portray the terrible choice and challenges faced by an asylum seeker family. We would hope that their action, coming to Australia, seems perfectly understandable; who wouldn’t act in a similar manner? And if a few people are led to our website, well that’s good too.
The total project costs for the commercial were under $1000, and we would obviously never have succeeded without the enormously generous, pro-bono support of the following individuals:
Rohan and his family (the asylum seeker family in the commercial): Rohan volunteered enthusiastically and instantly when approached about his family featuring in the commercial. Through the years that the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has known and supported them, the warmth and courage of this beautiful family has been a joy to behold. The moment in the commercial when Rohan's wife, daughter and (now grown up) son rejoin him makes it clear that the right family was chosen. We sincerely wish for a swift resolution to Rohan's immigration application so that we can officially welcome his family to our bountiful country.
Jack Thompson (voice-over): Getting Jack was a bit of a coup for the ASRC, although support for asylum seekers and refugees is very much a part of his life. Jack was a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees with whom he made documentaries all over the world about the refugee condition. Jack is outspoken about the vilification of asylum seekers in the current political environment. He has a keen sense of Australia's early origins as a penal colony and perhaps more significantly it's ongoing story of migration. 'After all' says Jack, 'most people didn't come to Australia because things were going great back home.' Jack is a very active philanthropist which includes work for his own foundation for indigenous training and housing ( www.jackthompsonfoundation.com ). Our sincere thanks also go to Linsten Morris Management for facilitating Jack's contribution.
Shannon Swann and the team at Resolution Media for every aspect of production (www.resolutionmedia.tv). This project would not have happened without Shannon's instant offer of support (we might have made a little YouTube video or something, but it was Shannon who said 'This sounds like a community service announcement to me . . . When do you want to make it?'). The guys at Resolution had to work with an utterly inexperience writer/director (Patrick Lawrence, Foodbank Coordinator at the ASRC) which they did with great patience and good humour.
Bryan 'Itch' Kearns (street art background): The street art component was always central to this commercial, and we couldn't have scored a better artist than Itch. As you can see from the commercial and from his website (www.inkbombstudios.com) Itch is one of Australia's premier street artists. Due to logistical limitations it was a pretty difficult shoot for Itch. The first night involved almost non-stop painting for 6 hours (finishing after midnight as we had to film after dark) to complete the Sri Lanka scene. It's a good thing he wears his mask or else he might not have made it!
Like Shannon, Rachael came up with a very beautiful product despite the vague and indecisive instructions from a Foodbank Coordinator cum director. Our thanks go also to Martin Wright (studio recording) who gave of his time and of his studio (www.move.com.au).
Many others helped along the way with their advice (eg. Matt Tutty, ASRC board member and designer of this website) and support (eg, Kon Karapanagiotidis, ASRC CEO). Like every other project at the ASRC, success is a matter of the ASRC being supported by members of the community who feel passionately, as we do, about the rights of asylum seekers.