With the conflict in Syria showing no signs of abating, the number of people fleeing their homes to seek asylum has reached proportions not seen since WWII. Increasingly, the world is confronted with the question of how to manage, integrate and meet the needs of forcibly displaced people.
At the same time, to the backdrop of economic nationalism and a populist insurgency in positions of leadership, a sense of fear, uncertainty, and suspicion of the new arrivals is common in communities across the world.
This is the context in which filmmaker Daniel Mulloy wrote and directed ‘Home’. A joint production, by UNHCR and Black Sheep Studios, the film was shot in Kosovo and released last June to coincide with World Refugee Day, and was intended to humanise the plight of refugees.
The twenty-minute short tells the story of a British family, who after waking in a cozy suburban house and going through the motions of their domestic morning ritual, appear to set off for a family holiday. It is not until the parents, played by Holliday Grainger and Jack O’Connell, bundle their confused children into the boot of their car with cheerful instructions to keep their “heads down”, and drive through an unknown border, that we realise this is no ordinary journey.
The film, which was awarded Best Short Film at last weekend’s BAFTAs, takes the familiar genre of a roadtrip movie, and subverts it. By doing so, it reinforces the idea that the migrants who turn up on our shores are not usually here by choice.