'My work as a filmmaker has taken me to some wild, dangerous places ... It's been a crazy, nomadic kind of life, taking me to conflict zones and desperately poor, chaotic, unstable countries. I've been sick, injured, scared and had too many close calls to mention. I spend a lot of time alone, in airports, lugging camera gear, gazing up at flickering departure boards.' But I love it. I love the feeling I get when I am heading into the unknown.'
Angry and frustrated with Australia's asylum seeker and refugee policies, Eva Orner, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, returned home after a decade living in the States to make the documentary Chasing Asylum about the issue. Embarking on a tumultuous eighteen months, Eva travelled to Indonesia, Cambodia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iran, spending time with and filming asylum seekers, as well as interviewing politicians, activists and commentators including David Marr and Malcolm Fraser. She smuggled a pen camera into an Indonesian jail to interview a convicted people smuggler, she talked to whistle blowers in Australia, and in Iran she met with the family of the man killed in the Manus Island riot.
Chasing Asylum is a compelling insight into a filmmaker's journey, and a very personal story of the cost, risks and rewards of putting yourself on the line for a film and for a cause.
The Guardian writes of the film Chasing Asylum: 'The full, muscular weight of the feature documentary format has finally tackled the subject with Chasing Asylum, a viscerally intense expose given gravitas by Academy and Emmy award-winning film-maker Eva Orner ... not just successful, but awfully and unforgettably effective: vital, evocative and gut-wrenching.'
'Eva Orner is no stranger to bravery ... she manifests this steadfastness in relating story after story where pain, violence and horror frame her narrative, interspersed by accounts of the daily life of a filmmaker ... Orner is brave not just emotionally, but also physically, risking imprisonment, illness and violence to uncover the stories of those who have sought refuge ... It is a story that must be told.' Sydney Morning Herald