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Documentary Film Journal Background and Research Process As I set out to develop a documentary for the third term I recognized that I needed to gain considerable understanding of the subject matter. I gave great consideration to potential topics and continually returned to the need for documentary filmmaking to address issues of social importance…
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Download file to see previous pages My homeland is Iran. After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran experienced a tremendous influx of immigration from these regions; today this immigration constitutes one of the largest social issues in Iran. As the issue has garnered significant media attention, it’s recognized that there has also been significant misrepresentation. To a large degree I recognized that the media’s representation of these immigrants was unfair and increasingly produced negative stereotypes. In fact, these immigrants are required to work long hours for extremely limited pay in a process that is akin to modern slavery. While I had direct experience with immigration in Iran, my knowledge of the illegal immigration experienced in the United Kingdom was limited. Still, after a quick perusal I came to recognize that the immigrant experience in this region held many parallels to the abhorrent conditions Iranian immigrants experienced. Indeed, further research demonstrated that the problem of the illegal immigration experience cannot be limited to any one region, but is instead a global problem. Indeed, Chinese writer and journalist Pai notes: The number of people living outside their countries of origin more than doubled between 1975 and 2000, from 75 million to 175 million, and is likely to double again in the next twenty-five years, according to International Labour Organization (ILO). Among the 175 million away from home, migrant workers and their families now account for 120 million people globally. It’s estimated that undocumented migrant workers constitute about twenty per cent of global migration: which means that there are around 24 million ‘illegal workers’ world-wide (2007, p. 246). This understanding of the global and expanding nature of the illegal immigration crisis greatly influenced and inspired my research and motivated my documentary production. To a large degree it was the namelessness of these immigrants that grabbed my attention and emotionally affected me. I considered that because of the nature of their condition they lack any status and in a sense it’s as if they don’t exist. I began to focus my research on a number of books and articles. These include: Reluctant Refuge, Enslaved, Modern Slavery, Chinese Whispers and etc. After my initial research of the pervading subject literature, I sought out a number of individuals who were experts in immigration law. Finally, having gained a thorough foundational understanding, I turned to major films on the subject. There is a tremendous amount of cinematic exploration of the immigration issues. My research involved films including: Ghosts (2006) by Nick Broomfield, Welcome (2009) by Philippe Lioret, Journey of Hope (1990) by Xavier Koller, La Promesse (1996) by Dardenne Brothers, Dirty Pretty Things (2002) by Stephen Frears, Gypo (2005) by Jan Dunn, The Visitor (2007) by Thomas McCarthy and etc. My next step was attending trials that included illegal immigrants as a means of gaining a first-hand perspective on the interaction between law and immigration. Interview Process After researching literature, film, and legal elements, I turned my focus to reaching out to interview actual illegal immigrants. As one might expect this was the most challenging aspect of my research. These individuals are an invisible part of the economic structure ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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