ACMI Presents

Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time

Unclassified 15+ Scroll to content

“If they knew I was making a movie, it would have definitely made trouble for me...”

Behrouz Boochani (director), The Saturday Paper

Over a period of several months, journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani had access to a phone. In secret, he collaborated with Iranian-Dutch filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani on the outside to create a film which portrays what he describes as "the coarsening banality and repetition" of indefinite detention.

Inside the camp, the film reveals sobering first-hand accounts of harassment, belittlement and mistreatment. Beyond the camp's perimeter, it considers the legacy of the island's foreign occupations and the implications of that history for Manusians who question the role they have been recruited to play in Australian politics.

Co-director Arash Kamali Sarvestani was a student of Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami and from that formative experience he sought to make this collaboration. Arash writes, “All this movie that I made came from Abbas Kiarostami's film workshop, the sea.”

Chauka refers to a bird unique to Manus Island, a symbol that Manusians regard with deep pride. In a cruel twist, it is also the name given to the prison’s solitary confinement unit. The film is less an explosive exposé, and more an aesthetically and rhythmically devastating “poem about the self-effacing monotony of indefinite detention” (The Saturday Paper).

Co-director Arash Kamali Sarvestani will present and introduce each session.

Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time also screens at the Sydney Film Festival. Please visit their website for more information.

Q&A with the directors

Co-director Arash Kamali Sarvestani will present and introduce each session. We will endeavour to contact Behrouz Boochani via Skype during the Q&As if possible.

Friday 7pm
Arash will be joined by Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim.
Senator Nick McKim is the Australian Greens spokesperson for Immigration and Citizenship. After being re-elected in July 2016, Nick was made spokesperson for Immigration. He is a passionate defender of multicultural Australia and an advocate for a humane and compassionate approach towards people seeking asylum. He recently visited Manus Island, where he met with dozens of detainees, including Behrouz Boochani.

Saturday 4pm
Arash will be joined by Janet Galbraith and Arnold Zable.
Janet is a poet and founder and coordinator of Writing Through Fences, a writing group made up of people who are, or have been, detained in immigration detention. She has worked extensively with Behrouz on the PEN International campaign for his freedom.
Arnold is an acclaimed writer, novelist and human rights advocate. He has written extensively on the refugee experience, and on Behrouz Boochani and his extraordinary work on Manus island, and acted as a consultant on the film. His most recent book is The Fighter.