Crowd-funded film cataloguing the living conditions of migrants pulls no punches.
A chance email by a Somalian teenager in Athens opened the way to a series of shocking and untold stories that came to life in ‘Into the Fire’, a 40-minute crowd-funded film on the plight of migrants in Greece. Describing what they filmed as ‘unsettling’, the directors also intend to take the concept of crowd-sourcing into new territory
A hard-hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants in Athens was released on Monday via YouTube in an experiment in distribution that its directors hope will bring the film all over the world and in different languages.
Into The Fire runs for 40 minutes and was directed by Guy Smallman and Kate Mara.
Its origins go back to this time last year when the two directors came to Athens to make a series of short films about austerity.
“What we discovered during our one day of filming on the situation of refugees in Greece was unsettling… The film grew in an organic fashion that surprised us. It seemed to have a life of its own and drag us along in its wake
– Directors Guy Smallman and Kate Mara
Before they left, they were contacted by a teenage refugee from Somalia, who emailed them a list of problems that he and his friends were facing. They all met up, opening the door to many contacts in the migrant world and to untold and shocking stories, recorded as a short series of interviews.
“What we discovered during our one day of filming on the situation of refugees in Greece was unsettling. Once we got back to London, we secured additional funding, to be able to go to Greece a second time and take a closer look at what was happening. From that starting point, the film grew in an organic fashion that surprised us. It seemed to have a life of its own and drag us along in its wake,” the directors said.
Shot and edited with sensitivity and compassion, it doesn’t pull its punches and makes for harrowing viewing in parts. It gives incredible insights to the reality faced by people who simply want to lead peaceful, normal lives.
The release took place simultaneously on websites, blogs and other platforms around the internet.
Having relied on crowd-funding for part of the production costs, those behind the film say they are taking the concepts of crowd-sourcing one step further.
“These days, everyone is talking about crowd-funding. Part of the production of Into the Fire was also crowd-funded. We are going one step further: Not only the production, but also the distribution of Into the Fire is crowd-sourced. On April 21 Into the Fire will be released on simultaneously on various websites and platforms around the internet.”
For the launch, they managed to have the film subtitled into nine languages – Albanian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish – using social media networks. A team of volunteers has translated the film into a number of languages and new volunteers are still adding more languages.
The strategy of crowd-sourcing the production, launch and distribution of the film, its creators hope, will made those who view it active participants, commentators and amplifiers when it comes to opposing the conditions visited on the victims in the story.
Public screenings of the film are planned for Europe and Northern America, and those behind the film invite anyone to organise their own screening.