Production Credit: Sound Design
For thousands of refugees and those seeking asylum, the Calais Jungle Migrant Camp was a shelter and a haven. At its peak, there were 10,000 residents of the Jungle and at least 1,000 of which were unaccompanied children. However, the life-sustaining relief was not provided by NGO’s but a network of tenacious individuals, determined to pick up where the officials left off. Caught between the increasing demands of a growing camp and the regular police raids, this documentary reveals the chains of relief networks that entirely sustained the residents of the Calais Jungle over 8 months leading up to its demolition.
“You wouldn’t feel we were in Europe at all, there
are so many different cultures, you feel like you’re
in a different country completely.”
—Felix & Curtis, Help Refugees Tent Builders
The Calais Jungle migrant camp was a place of refuge for those constantly flowing throughout the continent. At its peak there were 10,000 residents, including 1,000 unaccompanied children. However, this was no sanctuary as the growing population was met with interventions and raids by the region’s police and security organisations. Daily life in the Jungle was a challenge. Without any NGO’s providing relief or support, it was down to a team of volunteers to respond to the demand for aid. Gradually, networks of aid workers were established and expanded until it was the main source of relief for the residents of the camp.
On the Road to Relief observes this volunteer movement that sustained the Calais Jungle: individuals who are not paid, but chose to dedicate their lives to responding to humanitarian disaster. This documentary follows these groups over the final 8 months of the camp, leading up to the demolition on 24 October, 2016. The film follows the daily routines of these individuals, starting in the warehouses where all aid is coordinated. Here, Volunteer and Distribution Manager Hettie highlights the motives of the charity and the severity of their duties. Acting as a focal point of the ongoing events in Calais, Hettie accounts the recent history of the Jungle. Harrowing events such as camp-wide fires, evictions, police raids and protests are all visualised through archive material filmed by residents’ volunteers of the camp.
The constantly changing politics and regulations of the region are represented with an ongoing court case throughout the film, where authorities attempted to close shops run by refugees. In the jungle there were dozens of shops and businesses operated by refugees, which were a lifeline to camp residents by offering free food and shelter to hundreds who charities could not reach. The residents of the camp are represented by Awesome, a Pakistani shopkeeper who gives first hand accounts of police raids against the refugee high street. Revealing the history and complex events of the Calais Jungle from March to October 2016, On the Road to Relief offers a window into a space that now symbolises the ongoing Migrant Crisis, even beyond its physical demolition.
Category: Short Documentary
Sub-categories: Factual, Human Rights, History, Immigration, France, Migrant Crisis
Production companies: Saudade Productions, G&T Productions
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/OnTheRoadToRelief
The production was achieved through working closely with the main charities that operate in the Calais region and across France.
Help Refugees and L’Auberge des Migrants are two of the main charities in the Calais region and before the camp’s demolition in October 2016, they were responsible for maintaining most of the infrastructure and supplied food, water and firewood to thousands of residents each day. These two charities were our main collaborators and film subjects in Calais, and the crew worked closely with members of these charities in preparation of shooting and in the months after. As our way of giving our thanks, the crew shot a series of promotional videos for different departments of these charities. Links to these can be found in the FAQ’s. Refugee Aid CiC is a Cornish-based charity which was one of the main donators and funders of the youth schools and organisations in the Calais Jungle. Founded and run by Tamzin Wood, the crew worked closely with this charity in preparation during development and pre-production. During filming, Tamzin Wood joined the crew to fulfill the roles of Casting and Coordination to ensure the crew could get much needed access.
FULL CHARACTER & SUBJECT LIST
Hettie Colquhoun, Help Refugees
François Guennoc , L’Auberge des Migrants
Felix & Curtis, Help Refugees
Annika, Help Refugees
Semih Bulbul, UNHCR
Director and Editor: Jake Martin Graves | Producer: Sophie-Anna Taylor | Production Assistant: Andrew C Neil | Director of Photography: Daniel Griffin | Casting and Production Coordinator: Tamzin Wood | Transcribers: Claire Stevens, Danielle Porter, Leon Nichols, Dan Griffin, Mia Garfield, Frankie Hirtenstein, Jonathan Sanders, Shana King | Sound Design (Post): Claire Stevens | Graphic Design: Fiona Routledge, Mayne Design | Illustration: Hannah ‘Lu’ French
Archive: donated by Rowan Farrel and the Refugee Info Bus,
Drone Press, Jane Jackson, and Zafar.
Music: kindly provided by The Calais Sessions.
Special Thanks: Melissa Colak, Nina Coulson, Tamzin Wood, UK Action For
Refugees, Refugee Aid, Help Refugees, L’Auberge, Calais Wood Yard, Frankie
Hirtenstein, David Johnson, Naeem Akhtar, Ecole Des Dunes School Calais,
Jane Elizabeth Herrington, Alison Raimes, Ed Mayne, Sue and John Mayne,
Fiona Routledge, Steve Graves, and My Shelter My Dignity.
Dedicated to the ever-increasing amount of refugees in Europe.
In Memory of Emily Hobhouse (1860-1926)