CALLING HOME

Directed by
Jade Jackman

How to make a film about women the government doesn't want us to see?

In the midst of a business park in Bedfordshire, you'll find Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Slotted in amongst the stocky offices of cement and the tall street lights that curve ominously towards the sky, you'd be forgiven for not noticing the 400 women that live between them; you weren't meant to... 

Through phone calls with the imprisoned women, the documentary filmmaker Jade Jackman documents the reality of being a female asylum seeker stuck in the limbo of bureaucratic and often inhuman policies.

With the help of artist Diana Chire, she recreates the feeling of isolation that these 'unseen' women feel. Jade explains that the limited access gave her a new angle on creative approach to a traditional documentary form.

'I took motivation from Movement For Justice and shone visibility on the lives of the women inside Yarl's Wood. It is no accident that the women aren't allowed camera phones and that the position of all these detention centres is as far away from towns and transport as possible (you have to take a two hour long train and a taxi before you even get to the detention centres gates). Even if we had been granted access for our film, it would have been mediated through SERCO and the Home Office. So we had to think creatively instead, and the constraints on our style turned out to be a blessing. Rather than taking a rigid approach to documentary, we borrowed techniques from fashion and art, and collaborated with performance artist and founder of She-Zine, Diana Chire, to amplify the voices of the women inside. And, as the women told me, they were excited to contribute to a piece that would present their experiences in a new light.'

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