Refugee Week
Featuring Midnight Traveler, For Sama, Watan, Rosemary's Way and Human Flow


One of the best ways to celebrate Refugee Week while practising physical distancing is to hold a screening session for yourself or others. We have compiled a list of films, documentaries and shows about refugees and people seeking asylum you can watch and share with others:

We are very grateful to the filmmakers who have made their films available for Refugee Week. If you wish to host a screening session, you will need to contact the filmmakers directly. You can find their contact details below.

Be sure to snap a photo and share it across social media using the hashtag #RefugeeWeekAu.


Behrouz – Simon V. Kurian

‘Behrouz’ is a feature documentary telling the story of Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist who fled the Iranian regime, seeking asylum in Australia in 2013. Transferred to Manus Island Detention prison a month after his arrival on Australian shores by boat, Behrouz spent six years in detention. His reporting and writings from the Manus detention prison, using a smuggled mobile phone, brought to international notice the horrific reality of life for detainees. His book ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ written while in detention on his mobile phone has become one of the most celebrated books in Australia in recent times, winning Australia’s prestigious literary award, the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature (Behrouz, 2022) 

Unheard  – LADbible Australia – Jack Steele, Luke Cornish, Cathy Vu, Ellen Dedes-Vallas, Daniel Mansour, Olivia Suleimon

This investigative documentary series explores the alarming numbers behind broader issues and exposes the first-hand instances of racial injustice. Episode 5: Asylum seekers and refugees features the story of “Biloela family” and those people advocating for better treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. 

Simple as Water  – Megan Mylan

The movie immerses viewers in the struggles of Syrian families as they try to rebuild their lives and cope with the effects of conflict, separation, and displacement. It was shot over the period of five years in five nations and emphasises the value of family across many cultures.  

Wandering, a Rohingya Story – Olivier Higgins and Mélanie Carrier

Wandering, a Rohingya Story is an immersive, poetic, and moving look inside the Kutupalong refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in the world. During a short period of time in 2017, 700,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority left Myanmar (formerly Burma) in order to flee genocide and seek refuge in Bangladesh. The Rohingyas of the Kutupalong camp give testimony to their everyday lives and to the ghosts of the past in between poetry and dreams, food distribution and soccer matches. 

Scattered People  – John Swatland

The Scattered People is a group of musicians from Brisbane, Australia, who perform, compose, and record the music and narratives of asylum seekers they meet in detention and community centres. “Through the eyes and hearts of two Iranian musicians, Scattered People is a story about the healing power of music, bringing together people, cultures and countries while exploring Australians’ attitudes towards people seeking asylum. Scattered People is about the power of music to create change and restore hope” (The Scattered People, n.d.).

Watch or host a film screening:

Freedom Stories

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.

  1. Someone I’m Trying to Forget (13’42”) –
  2. Dreaming of Freedom (22’48”) –
  3. Dream of Freedom (video clip to accompany Dreaming of Freedom) (3’16”) –
  4. A Place to Belong (19’00”) –
  5. Fighting for my Children (12’00”) –
  6. Only Sunday Off (13’22”) – (No password)
  7. We are Guests in This World (19’24”) –

Sirocco – Winds of Resistance

Drawing from the inspiration of their grandmothers, singer Aziza Brahim and activist Senia Abderhaman wrestle for the independence of their people from a brutal and corporate backed Moroccan regime using culturally derived methods of music, poetry, and nonviolent resistance.

Canada Information about Western Sahara at
Email Australia Western Sahara Association at

Access the full film here.

Night Becomes Day

In 2020, Sohail is just one of 79 million displaced people in the world. He is a teenager in a Greek refugee camp. Inspired by Theo, a local human rights worker, Sohail joins other refugees, artist Nakam and war-injured Ali, to migrate from the camp to create a new form of citizenship not previously imagined. Through cinematic VR, we intimately share their journey from night to day.

Access the film here: 

The filmmakers have generously offered to provide us a 2D copy of the film to share with you for Refugee Week!

Cast from the Storm

Cast from the Storm tells the tender story of a group of teenage refugees who share their extraordinary stories when they join Treehouse Theatre, an after-school theatre group. A coming of age story, this uplifting documentary shares the reality of what it means to be a teenager and a displaced person. This is the story of what comes after, and what it means to remake your home.

The film is available for purchase via their website: 


Seven years. Six million displaced people. The biggest humanitarian emergency of our time. The Syrian refugee crisis remains at the forefront of the global consciousness: as statistics, as photographs, as a bargaining chip in international politics. But inside the camps real people settle in to a life in limbo. Watan explores two of the biggest refugee camps in Jordan – Zaatari and Azraq – along with neighbouring city Jerash, to paint intimate portraits of the men, women and children who have found themselves there.

Watan is available via ClickView, Collective Eye Films and Kanopy.

The makers of Watan have generously offered to make their film available for free download for the month of June to celebrate Refugee Week. Check back on their site in June to get the film.

Check out this new short video by the makers of WATAN ‘A conversation with Jamil’ by James Brown:

For Sama


FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. 

Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.

The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts.

Access the documentary here:
Buy the documentary on YouTube:
Buy the documentary on Google Play:



MANUS is a 13 minute film, which shines a light on the plight of hundreds of asylum seekers held captive by the Australian Government on Manus Island in PNG for over 6 years.

MANUS was an Official Selection at numerous film festivals both in Australia and internationally receiving several Best Documentary and Best Director awards and nominations. MANUS also qualified for selection at the 2020 Academy Awards in the Documentary Short category.

Access the documentary here:



A homeless Nigerian refugee struggles to integrate into Australian society after escaping the clutches of Boko Haram. While living on the streets and on the receiving end of racist taunts from a group of drunks, a young woman comes to his aid and offers him a place to stay. Struggling with her own heartbreak, she soon finds solace in her unlikely new companion as he opens her up to a world beyond her current life of modelling, parties and social media. To organise a screening or for inquiries please contact:

Genna Chanelle Hayes, Akoni Producer at 0439 516 487 or send an email to

Alyce Christiansen, Akoni Publicity at 0456 111 449

Quo Vadis, Aida? – Jasmila Žbanić

Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) – Jasmila Žbanić: In the little town of Srebrenica, Aida works as a UN translator. Her family is among the hundreds of people seeking refuge in the UN camp as the Serbian army acquires control of the town. An international co-production of twelve production companies, the film was shown in the main competition section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival. It was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards and has won the Award for Best Film at the 34th European Film Awards. 


Inspired by true events; a woman escaping a cult, a refugee fleeing with his family, a father trapped in a dead-end job, and a bureaucrat on the verge of a national scandal find their lives intertwined in an immigration detention centre.

Watch the mini-series on Netflix:
Buy the mini-series on YouTube:
Buy the mini-series on Google Play:–pUgewUQqUUCebptAogWaw&gdid=tvepisode-tL89K4td8Ps

Rosemary’s Way  – Ros Horin

Charismatic changemaker, Rosemary Kariuki, is on a mission to empower migrant women, enticing them out of cultural silos, exposing them to new ideas, experiences and the wider Australian society – her means are anything but orthodox and laughter is her secret weapon (Rosemary’s Way, 2022) 

So You Think You Can Stay

Amir Najjer from Gaza was tortured by masked men and accused of collaborating with Israeli forces. In Norway, his application for asylum has been refused. Authorities believe he can go back to the Gaza Strip, although the UN states that it´s unsafe to return. Now, Amir has signed up for the brand new talent show, So You Think You Can Stay, by Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), and hopes that your vote can help him stay in in Norway.

This powerful campaign film by NOAS uses a spoof talent show format to highlight the refuge process in Norway, and exposes the complexities of the application system. While the contestants and judges are fictitious, their stories are based on real asylum cases taken on by NOAS.

Access the show here: 

Reflections on a Genocide

A short film/multimedia project exploring the genocide in Cambodia between 1975-1979, where it is estimated that up to 2 million people were killed, under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. The film features still photos of prisoners that I took while in Cambodia at the Tuol Sleng S-21 Prison in Phnom Penh, which is now a Genocide Museum. They are all “photos of photos”, and use the reflection of the glass which they are behind, to reveal the surroundings of the prison.

With English & Khmer subtitles.

Access the film here:

No Music for Hate

No Music For Hate invites you to enter the world of Moroccan musician Said Benmsafer, for an afternoon of improvisation and exchange; as he joins the Sicilian musician Alessandro Venza on a musical journey of discovery and beauty. Crossing borders and exchanging cultures.

– A film by David Fedele

Access the film here:

Nous Sommes Des Messagers (We Are Messengers)

Part documentary, part improvised concert, part music video – NOUS SOMMES DES MESSAGERS (We are Messengers) presents a portrait of Senegalese musicians Mbemba Diebaté & Walowalo Niangbalo, and invites the audience to discover the traditional music, instruments, and culture of griots, traditional West African storytellers. (Filmed in Rabat, Morocco, in September 2018)

– A film by David Fedele

Access the film here:

REVENIR (To Return)

For years, the stories of West African migrants and refugees have been told through the lenses of foreign journalists. Now there is a story from the inside.

Part road-trip, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, REVENIR follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from the Ivory Coast now living in France, as he returns to the African continent and attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country … But this time with a camera in his hand.

Traveling alone, Kumut will be documenting his own journey; both as the main protagonist in front of the camera, as well as the person behind it, revealing the human struggle for freedom and dignity on one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world.

A controversial film experiment, a courageous journey, and a unique collaboration between filmmakers and refugees; which is not without consequences.

Access the film here:

First They Killed My Father

First They Killed My Father is based on memoir recounting experiences of being a child soldier under Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. 

Loung Ung is 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge assumes power over Cambodia in 1975. They soon begin a four-year reign of terror and genocide in which nearly 2 million Cambodians die. Forced from her family’s home in Phnom Penh, Ung is trained as a child soldier while her six siblings are sent to labor camps.

Access the film on Netflix:

Road to Oxford

In 2018, Rawan escaped the Syrian Civil War and left the country he was born in. This is his road to Oxford, UK.

Human Flow

More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war, the greatest displacement since World War II.

Filmmaker Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Over the course of one year in 23 countries, Weiwei follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq.

Available for purchase/streaming on Amazon:

Available for purchase/streaming on iTunes:


A group of young people known as the YLCSC are campaigning so that all children who arrive in the UK alone get a legal guardian. Guardians help young refugees and migrants with immigration interviews, understanding rights and adapting to life in a new country. Guardians exist in Scotland but not in England or Wales. The YLCSC are fighting to change this.

Here is their campaign, told in their words.

Read more about it:

Midnight Traveller

When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee the country with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing the family’s uncertain journey firsthand, Fazili documents their harrowing trek across numerous borders revealing the danger and uncertainty facing refugees seeking asylum juxtaposed with the unbreakable love shared amongst the family on the run.

Find out where to access this documentary:

Dear Habib

Dear Habib is an animated video focusing on the experiences of young unaccompanied child migrants.

SBS Refugee Week Films

Inspired by UNHCR ambassador Cate Blanchett’s ‘Films of Hope’, ​the Immigration Museum has partnered with SBS On Demand to present a curated selection of films for Refugee Week 2020 to stream online for free.   

Join us from the comfort of your couch for a week of insightful films – paired with moving stories from refugees in Museums Victoria’s collection

In presenting some of the powerful lived experiences in the collection alongside films that highlight the resilience and hope of refugees, we hope to promote understanding of issues facing refugees worldwide. 

Access the films here:

Moving Worlds

Moving Worlds is a programme of curated films available to watch at home during Refugee Week which is a festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees (14-20 June 2021). Moving Worlds is produced by Counterpoints Arts, which coordinates Refugee Week nationally. 

Find out more:

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