Dublin filmmakers on way to document refugee crisis

By Lorna O’Neill

Two Dublin filmmakers are on their way to Lesvos, an island off Greece, to document the refugee crisis and they are looking for your help to fund the trip.

Conor Maguire and Paul Webster are two freelance filmmakers, affected like most onlookers in Ireland, by the horrors that have unfolded as the body count has risen during the mass migration of people across Europe.

But Conor and Paul don’t want to watch the disturbing images on TV news of families fleeing wartorn Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan.

The filmmakers are raising money to allow them to travel to the Greek island to capture on camera the events so they will never be forgotten in history.

In 2015, more than 500,000 refugees made their way to Lesbos island from Turkey in dangerously overloaded, inflatable rafts.

This represents 59% of all refugees who made their way to Greece last year.  Projections are that refugee numbers making the dangerous journey across the Aegean Sea could double this year.

Conor said:  A few weeks ago there was a large number of deaths off the coast of Lesvos.   A lot of people drowned trying to get out of Turkey and there didn’t seem to be any response.
“I started to do a little research, as the reports I was hearing weren’t giving me a lot of critical information. Why were people leaving Turkey?
“Why wasn’t there a larger UNHCR operation in the area?  What exactly was happening on Lesvos?  The more I researched the more questions it raised and pretty quickly I found that there might be a much larger human story here that wasn’t being told.
“I asked a director friend, Paul Webster, to help me out and we launched a bare-bones fundraising appeal to help with our production a few days later.”
Conor Maguire, a Dublin filmmaker, aiming to document the refugees' journey
Conor Maguire, a Dublin filmmaker, aiming to document the refugees’ journey
So far we’ve raised over 85% of our budget in just 12 days so we think this is something a lot of people care about but don’t know what to do.

“We are hoping to draw accounts from all people affected by the crisis on Lesvos in an attempt to understand why these people are trying so desperately to get into Europe, why the aid situation has been so ad hoc, why private citizens have been motivated to help from around Europe and the effect this crisis combined with an economic crisis is having on residents.

“We will be setting the accounts given to us by refugees, residents, volunteer and professional aid workers in the context of the scale of the international crisis and the EU and UNHCR’s response to it so that people can judge the situation for themselves.”
Conor Maguire filmmaker
Conor Maguire filmmaker
Syrians account for 50% of the 380,000 refugees who had arrived in Europe after crossing the Mediterranean by early September, but several other nationalities are turning up in large numbers.
According to UN figures, 75% of the total refugees come from countries in the midst of armed conflict or humanitarian crises.
To help raise money for the filmmaker’s trip to document the refugee crisis, go to their Go Fund Me page on the link here https://www.gofundme.com/zmqbd2us

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