Updated: Wednesday, 1st April 2020 @ 9:59am

'Most are just normal people': Manchester film maker to portray Calais refugee crisis

'Most are just normal people': Manchester film maker to portray Calais refugee crisis

| By Sebastian Richards

The escalating refugee crisis will be portrayed as a film by a Chorlton director next year and filming is well underway.

Jason Wingard is producing The Crossing after going out to Calais and interviewing refugees in very risky circumstances.

The film aims to raise awareness and money for the refugee crisis.

Mr Wingard said: “It is just outrageous to see all refugees as terrorists. Most of them are just normal middle class people.

“By humanising the situation we can make a small difference. We must keep this in the public eye to keep pressure on our government to do the right thing in helping these people.

 “Sympathy for refugees is at an all-time low and I hope that this film will humanise the situation.”

The Crossing will give 50% of its proceeds to the refugee crisis, with Mr Wingard stating that it would not feel ethical to make the film and not give a substantial amount to the refugees.

It aims to raise £25,000 through donations and has currently received around £7,500 with further amounts promised from donators.

The production is a cross between a documentary and a drama, set as a love story and Jason feels the story is an important part of building sympathy for the refugees.

The film focuses on actors on a journey through Europe to show how they got to Calais and how the lead characters are attempting to gain asylum in the UK.

He said: “It is my belief that narrative film communicates to an audience in a different way than a documentary.”

The film aims to produce a sympathetic but honest take on the crisis, with admission from Jason that there are some economic migrants at the Calais camp he has focused most heavily on.

He did state however, that this was just a small number of the people he has interviewed in the Calais camp.

The director hopes that governments will alter their approach to helping refugees in the near future.

Mr Wingard said: “The camp in Calais contains 6,000 people and governments should deal with asylum claims, it would be easy to work out who is legitimate and who is not.

“The current situation is deliberately made difficult for people and this problem is not going to go away.”

Whilst the refugees were initially suspicious of the cameras, Mr Wingard said most of them became supportive to the idea and he aims to show them the film when it is complete.

He stressed the importance of the ethics in the shoot and he stressed that everyone on the film has given their permission to be on camera, saying that ‘shooting a mix of drama and documentary could not have been done correctly without consent’.

The camp where the production crew have spent a lot of their time has been open 6 years reflecting that this is not a new issue.

The dangers of the production are evident but it is not the refugees who pose the biggest threat but traffickers.

Mr Wingard spoke of how on one occasion traffickers drove at them and a car wing mirror caught a cameraman at around 60 miles an hour.

Police brutality is also a regular feature of the camp in Calais.

The production team are aiming for the film to be out in May 2016 with them due to travel through Greece and the Balkans to refugee camps during February and March.

The quickness of this turnaround is due to the political situation changing so quickly and therefore there is a desire for it to come out soon.

To donate money to The Crossing, click here