Watan explores two of the biggest refugee camps in Jordan - Zaatari and Azraq. Through observation of daily life, Watan builds powerful series of interwoven stories that go beyond the statistics to find the human heart of the refugee crisis.

[NOTE: Due to copyrights, the full film has been removed on August 16.]

Director’s Statement

By Bill Irving

Our reasons for making Watan came about from our feeling of helplessness in the face of the rhetoric and politicising of the refugee debate in Australia.

That overwhelming sense of, I guess, futility, probably drove our realisation that as filmmakers, the thing we could do to help was to provide a platform for people to speak for themselves in a way that they maybe wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

This film is just a little piece intended to help change that conversation about what defines a refugee. And then hopefully, how people see refugees. With empathy and compassion as actual human beings.

The reason I am so proud of this little film is because I believe that it shows that people find a way to continue through adversity. To try and improve themselves and their situations.

We’ve had people look at this film, and go “But they are the lucky ones - shouldn’t you talk about how they are lucky?” And maybe they are lucky - in the sense that they aren’t in Aleppo, they’re not getting bombed and dying every day, but that’s still not lucky.

They’ve had to lose everything they loved. They were teachers, they were doctors, they had families, they had farms, everything that we have, they lost, and are living on rations.  

At what point is just existing enough? Shouldn’t everyone have the ability to live a full and enriching life? Shouldn’t that be a universal human right? We all expect that, here, in Australia.

What makes us entitled to that, and these people not?

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