Documentary filmed in Brighton gets strong praise

A DOCUMENTARY, filmed almost entirely within the Brighton area has been receiving critical acclaim and filling up cinemas.

Brighton Council will be offering two free public screenings of the film that will include a ‘question and answer’ session afterwards, at the Brighton Civic Centre on June 19.

To attend either of the free screening sessions at 12.15am or 6.30pm on 19 June 2013 please contact Brighton Council on 6268 7000 to book your seat.  Bookings are essential as seats are limited.

Mary and Mohammad spend the weekend at Joy’s shack. Photography: Kristy Dowsing

The film at once tells a very local and a very global story. It is a story that is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It captures the beauty of the Brighton area and its people. Here is one of many glowing reviews of the film by Tasmanian Times editor Lindsay Tuffin:

“Christian prejudiced Mary cannot believe she is knitting a beanie for a Muslim. Because the Muslims and other asylum seekers have hit town and are incarcerated behind a double high-wire fence at Pontville. And some of the locals don’t like it. There are shots of an ABC report of an angry public meeting in town where all the predictable prejudice against the ‘other’ is wheeled out.

Taking a direct cue from the political masters, the locals , who only a decade or so before had welcomed with open arms the desperate refugees from Muslim Kosovo, rail against ‘these people’ who have managed somehow to breach the borders.

One of them is Mohammad. An Afghan, he’s fled his homeland and has been living in Quetta, Pakistan working as a poor plumber – illegally and in desperate fear of his life. Two of his brothers are targeted and executed by the Taliban. He’s next and all because he is from the wrong religious sect. He’s an Hazara.

He is the only hope for his family so he leaves his wife and children and makes that most horrendous of journeys across continents and oceans, only to be locked up in the land of the brave and free, Australia. Where for 50 days, after getting news his first application has been rejected, he breaks down. He remembers nothing of that period.

But in Brighton, and with the exemplary and courageous leadership of Mayor Foster,  there’s a revolution brewing – a knitting revolution.

The ladies of the Brighton Bridgewater Community Health Knitting Group are knitting up a pearler.

Among them is Mary. She is a real classic. She’s done it tough in her life working all over Australia and New Zealand with her husband in a vast array of hand-to-mouth jobs.

Her husband died about six years ago and she’s not in the best of health.  She gets about with a stick and in a motorised wheelchair – the shot of her getting a slab from the local in her wheelchair is a classic.

Mary has deep reservations about these incomers. But then she meets a couple of young ladies with very big hearts. Clarissa and Emily. One is an OT; the other has a young family (“I can always go home and put my little one to bed; they can’t,” she says at one stage in a beautifully captured moment which tears your heart-strings). And also weighing in with its considerable compassion is the local Anglican parish church with its Lady Vicar and the visiting Bishop Harrower.

The two young ladies are determined to meet the men behind the wire to see what help they can give. Mary goes along for the ride with some of the other ladies.

They meet Mohammad and the most beautiful, the most evocative relationship slowly emerges, crashing through barriers if ignorance and prejudice, revealing that we are all just human beings, after all.

Heather Kirkpatrick, with the help of her dad’s legacy (all selflessly spent on this) has produced an absolutely stunning documentary. And with only the help of the odd mate, she has done it all. From 150 hours of shooting to months of editing, this is a labour of monumental love.”

A preview of the film can be viewed online here: