After a period of fundraising and pre-production, filming for Freedom Stories is now properly underway.

In late September Steve Thomas filmed at the Victorian Hazara Association’s 10th Anniversary of its newsletter, Arman Monthly – at which Najaf Mazari was presented with a major award for his contribution to the community and Arif Fayazi was one of the organisers (see their profiles HERE)

During November two shoots were conducted in Sydney, one featuring musician and poet Mohsen Soltani Zand and the other Dr Aamer Sultan. We also caught up with Amir Javan for an interview about progress in his real estate career (see their profiles HERE).

The shoot with Mohsen included a rehearsal and interviews with his band Ember and we were fortunate to be able to film Aamer assisting with surgery in the operating theatre. Philip Bull was the cinematographer, with Steve Thomas directing and assisting with sound.

At the end of November and in early December we did one-day shoots with two Melbourne based participants, Shafiq Monis and Amin Sherzad (see their profiles HERE).

IMG_0630Shafiq and his family are having a new house built and we filmed with he and his daughter Mahidiya at the building site. This is an exciting time for them – for after ten years separation and a lot of hard work the Monis family will soon have their own home.

IMG_0638Then we travelled with Amin in his towtruck to cover a typical day’s work, during which he picked up cars for wrecking from as far apart as Braeside in Melbourne’s south to Melton, a developing suburb north of the city. Peter Zakharov was the cinematographer, again with Steve directing and assisting with sound recording.

IMG_0657Finally, just before the summer holiday season intervened we spent a day in Canberra with Mustafa Jawadi (see his profile HERE). This included filming at CWC Autos in Ainslie Village, where Mus works, and a lunchtime interview with Mus and his boss Nat McGahey. This was a day of celebration as Mus has just completed his apprenticeship, repaying Nat for taking him on as an enthusiastic 16 year-old several years ago. Pete Butz was the cinematographer on this occasion.

All of these shoots were collaborative as we discussed with each participant what we might shoot and their own ideas about what they would like to film. In each case participants discussed on camera what they are doing now in the context of their past experiences in detention and on TPVs (temporary protection visas).


This is just the beginning. After a break in January, principle shooting will continue from February through to April or May, by which time we should have most of the material required for the feature documentary and the proposed interactive website.