Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea, is the location of a controversial detention centre which the Australian government uses to hold over 1,000 asylum seekers indefinitely. It is also home to Iranian journalist and 2017 Index journalism award nominee Behrouz Boochani. His film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, which exposes the realities of life as a detainee on Manus Island, has been selected for the BFI London Film Festival.
An urgent and powerful documentary, shot in a detention centre where asylum seekers trying to reach Australian shores are indefinitely detained. Secretly shot on a mobile phone by Boochani while detained on Manus, the film is a collaboration with Dutch-Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani. Boochani recounts, via the testimonies of fellow inmates, the abuse and violence inflicted and the precarious state of limbo they find themselves in.
Chauka, the name of the dreaded solitary confinement unit within the detention centre, was originally the name of a beautiful bird and symbol of the Manus Island. By interweaving dialogue with two Manusian men and shots of daily life on the island, the film gives a much-needed voice to Manus inhabitants, understandably distressed by the current situation. With marked restraint, the film exposes lives broken by shocking immigration policies.