Illegal immigration is never far from the headlines, but it is a rare and vital thing to see beyond the propaganda to the people at the heart of the issue with the honesty and humanity of Stop-Over.
Swiss-Iranian first time director Kaveh Bakhtiari visits his cousin Mohsen, who is living illegally in Athens with a small group of other undocumented Iranian men. Greece was supposed to be their gateway into Europe, but having been abandoned by their smuggler, they find themselves trapped, leading a shadow life in the boarding house of fellow Iranian immigrant Amir. The constant fear of being picked up by the police, the hopeless search for fake papers and the monotony begin to take their toll. The only way out is to brave the treacherous onward journey alone, or to give in and find a way back to Iran.
Filming intimately from within the group, but nevertheless an outsider because of his legal credentials, Bakhtiari elegantly captures the camaraderie and struggles of these men, caught in a terrible limbo.
What the audience said
'Excellent, informative, disheartening'
'Compelling and eye-opening'
'Excellent film giving the perspective of migrants themselves which is rarely seen'
'Loved the film and the event, without either I would have remained blind to this serious humanitarian issue'
WHERE CAN I SEE IT AGAIN?
Click HERE to find out about future screenings of the film.
ABOUT THE PANELLISTS
The film was followed by a panel discussion including the following:
Prior to becoming a filmmaker Kate Mara worked for many years in human rights issues in Germany, including refugee and migrants rights. In 2012 Kate produced, shot and edited Into the Fire, a film about refugees and migrants in Athens at a time of economic crisis and rising racism. Kate will be joining us straight from a conference on EU Migration Policy and its impact on Greece at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Originally from Somalia, Ismail left his home country behind in the midst of a civil war, and found himself in Greece. For over a year Ismail lived undocumented in Athens, experiencing difficult living conditions as well as brutality from both the Greek police and members of right-wing racist parties. In 2012 Ismail appeared in Into the Fire. Ismail now has full refugee status in the UK and plays football for West Ham's Youth League.
Guy runs campaigns and communications at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, a long standing charity which, through legal, policy and campaigning work battles for a better deal for immigrants in the UK. They partner with organisations in Europe, but are primarily focussed on work in the UK and most recently they have been briefing against the Immigration Bill currently making its way through parliament.
Official Selection: BFI London Film Festival 2013
Official Selection: Cannes Film Festival 2013