“Screening Freedom Stories allowed our school community to see refugees from a different perspective.They are portrayed as people who have embraced the opportunities given to them with courage and dignity, adding to the rich human story of our nation.”
– Leo Twomey, Social Justice Coordinator, St Columba’s College, Essendon, Victoria.
“There was something very satisfying about watching these interesting and brave people making their way in their life. This film celebrates life in general just as much as it honours the particularly challenging paths that each of these refugee lives have trodden.”
– Prof Tim Mehigan, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Freedom Stories is a Feature Film (99 mins, PG rating) with additional short films. During Refugee Week in 2016, the film was screened in over 200 locations around Australia, including many secondary schools.
Recommended by the Refugee Council of Australia: “A thoughtful and uplifting film that places humanity back in this often politicised debate. … Screening ‘Freedom Stories’ is a great way to raise awareness.”
The FREE study guide provides a framework for positive discussion about the individual experiences of people who have sought asylum in Australia and the issues raised by their stories. The activities challenge students to think about asylum seekers and refugees in a compassionate way and allow students to engage in important conversations about Australia’s response to these people.
The guide has been written for secondary students at all year levels.
Freedom Stories provides opportunities for students to consider:
- the key concepts and facts about refugees and asylum seekers;
- the human rights issues faced by asylum seekers and refugees;
- the extraordinary courage, hope, dignity and resilience of asylum seekers and refugees in the face of profound hardships;
- the value of the contributions of refugees to Australian society.
Years 7 – 10, the study guide provides information and suggestions for learning activities in: Civics and Citizenship, English, Geography, History, Media Arts
Freedom Stories can also be used as a resource to address the Australian Curriculum general capabilities Ethical Understanding and Intercultural Understanding and the cross curriculum priority Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia. This documentary project is a suitable focus for cross curriculum projects about asylum seekers and refugees.
Years 11 – 12, the study guide provides suggestions for learning activities in: English, Global Politics, Legal Studies, Modern History, Religion
In this video Steve Thomas discusses:
- His motivation for making the film
- The missing voices in the asylum seeker debate
- The ordinary humanness of refugees
- Defining resilience
- The impact of the film on viewers
- Participant reactions to Freedom Stories
The stories in Freedom Stories can stimulate discussion and positive activities that allow students to respond to contemporary issues of the international refugee crisis. Here are two classroom activities devised by teacher Katy Marriner that encourage students to engage artistically with the experiences of those seeking asylum.
SHELTER ACTIVITY (Visual Arts)
Learning objective: to understand the idea of shelter and its relevance to the issue of asylum seekers and refugees.
The suggested activities are suitable for students in Years 5 – 12. Teachers may need to modify activity instructions to match the abilities of their students.
SYNOPSIS –Freedom Stories is a collaborative documentary project from Flying Carpet Films. It explores the achievements and stories of former ‘boat people’ who arrived in Australian waters seeking asylum from the Middle East around 2001, a defining year in Australian politics. Locked in remote detention centres and then placed on temporary protection visas, their limbo lasted for years. Now Australian citizens, they are finally building secure lives and contributing to their new country.
Only Sunday Off (Amin’s Story)
SYNOPSIS – Amin fled Afghanistan as a young man and was saved from drowning on the way to Australia by a container ship called the Tampa. Following a stand-off with the Australian Government, Amin then spent more than two years in detention on Nauru with the other 400 survivors. Today Amin lives in Melbourne and supports his family here and overseas by working six days a week as a tow-truck driver, part of a new industry salvaging car parts for export to the Middle East.
Feature film (99mins) and Short Films available to purchase from:
Ronin’s Vimeo-On-Demand service ($5.30 to Rent or $13.23 to buy)
Kanopy (Available through higher education institutions and public libraries)
Enhance TV – Available free to schools who are already members of Enhance TV (Note this link only works if you are a member)
About Enhance TV
Many schools are already members of Enhance TV, but if you aren’t, then you can get a free 3 month trial.
Alternatively, Enhance TV have a download service where you can download for $49.95.
Available fact sheets including “Myths About Refugees” and “Who are Refugees?”
A record of testimonies about immigration detention from Australian residents, for future generations of Australians. Detention Remembered is a Spare Lawyers for Refugees oral history project, compiled in 2005 and 2006. Its purpose was to record the testimonies of those who were directly involved in detention centres across Australia; the former detainees; and the detention centre staff, counselors, legal personnel and regular visitors who assisted and supported them.
An oral history project documenting the stories of men, women and children who have experienced Australian mandatory detention over the past 22 years. It seeks to bring a new perspective to the public understandings of mandatory detention by sharing the reality of the people who have lived it.
Educational section on the ASRC’s website which includes sections on “Myth, Fact and Solution”, as well as sections on statistics, graphical information and fact sheets.
There are many ways to contribute to the Freedom Stories Project:
We are very grateful for all donations we have received so far, and they have come in all sizes from a few dollars, to larger grants. Every donation received from now on will contribute to our ongoing outreach and educational work around Australia. Our aim is to screen the film to as many Australians as possible, but this takes resources and expertise. All tax deductible donations can be made via our page on the Documentary Australia Foundation website
2. HOST A SCREENING
One of the best ways to help and participate in this project is to put your hand up to host a screening. Not only will you help to get the word out that refugees and former asylum seekers are contributing to our community, you will enjoy watching the film with your friends, family and community.
Go to the screenings section of the website to see how easy it is to host a screening, and to find out about the flexible range of screening options we have developed.
3. REGISTER FOR THE NEWSLETTER TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE PROJECT
Anyone can register to be on our mailing list and it is a great way to stay in touch with future screenings and events. We always need interested supporters who are willing to spread the word about future screenings among their own networks.