Asian Movie Night presents a special screening of Ushiku (2021) with a panel discussion on migration and border, hosted by Bak Community Portal.
On the eve of Japan's recent – and highly contentious – immigration reform efforts, with a hidden camera, the director bypasses the media blackout the government has imposed on its immigration centres, bringing viewers into immediate contact with the detainees, many of whom are refugees seeking asylum. The documentary delves deep into the horrible reality of physical and mental abuse that prevails in these centres. Japan has a notoriously cruel immigration policy and has accepted only 0,4% of refugee applicants over the last ten years.
“Ushiku” exposes the hostile nature of Japan’s hushed up discriminatory immigration system and the human rights violations it imbues, against a background of the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic and with the spectacle of the Tokyo Olympics looming on the immediate horizon. In a country that portrays itself as the emblem of politeness and “omotenashi” hospitality, this documentary spotlights an especially harrowing truth that is urgent for more attention.
After the screening, there will be an after talk with the director Thomas Ash and members from Dutch activist groups Migrante, Sehaq and Papaya Kuir, namely Jun Saturay, Nisrine Chaer, and Alejandra Ortiz to expand the discussion on migration policy, borders and empathy, and relate it back to our own context in the Netherlands, espeically focused on the BIPOC queer struggles.
18:30 Doors open
19:10 Start screening
20:40 End screening + tea / coffee break
20:55 Panel discussion + Q&A
21:45 End of event
𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗧𝗛𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗦 𝗔𝗦𝗛 / 𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗺 𝗗𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿 In his films, Thomas Ash broadly focuses on issues surrounding health and medicine, including two feature documentaries about children living in areas of Fukushima contaminated by the 2011 nuclear meltdown, ‘In the Grey Zone‘ (2012) and ‘A2-B-C‘ (2013). His recent work has focused on death and dying and includes ‘-1287‘ (2014) and ‘Sending Off’ (2019). Thomas served as Executive Producer of ‘Boys for Sale’ (2017, dir: Itako), a documentary about male sex workers in Tokyo.
"I first began visiting the immigration facility in Ushiku as a volunteer and was deeply affected by hearing the stories of some of the people being detained. It was only then that I began to think about how to use the power of film to bring this story to the attention of the Japanese public and the world. My motivation was not to make a film, but rather as a witness to human rights violations, I felt morally compelled to document evidence in the form of filming the detainees’ testimonies; to document their truth." www.ushikufilm.com
𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗝𝗨𝗡 𝗦𝗔𝗧𝗨𝗥𝗔𝗬 / 𝗠𝗶𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲 Jun Saturay is an artist / culutral worker / activist currently based in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Back in the Philippines, he was an environmental defender and human rights worker. He applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in 2003 after more than 40 of his fellow environmental activists opposing a mining project were murdered during the regime of former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Aside from advocating for the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees in the Netherlands, he continues his activism in support of the struggle of the Filipino people for justice, peace, and genuine social change.
Migrante Netherlands is an alliance of Filipino migrant organizations in The Netherlands. It upholds and defends the rights of overseas Filipinos in the Netherlands. It is part of the national democratic movement that aspires for national and social liberation of Philippine society. https://migrante.nl/
𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗡𝗜𝗦𝗥𝗜𝗡𝗘 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗘𝗥 / 𝗦𝗲𝗵𝗮𝗾 Nisrine Chaer is a researcher and organizer who lives in Lebanon and the Netherlands. In 2017, he co-founded Sehaq. He is also a member of a queer mutual aid group in Beirut. Nisrine is working on a PhD project at Utrecht University about geographies of home with a focus on queer & trans migration in Lebanon and in the Netherlands.
Sehaq Queer Refugees Group is a refugee-led collective that raises awareness, hosts community events, and creates safer spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ) asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented people in the Netherlands, and which centres the experiences of refugees from the Middle East & North African regions. Sehaq means “dyke” or “dykeness” in Arabic, a reclaimed slur used to insult lesbians. Adopting a leftist feminist approach to politics, Sehaq also aspires to create solidarity networks between the Dutch-based queer and trans refugee/diaspora community and the (activist) communities in the global South / MENA. https://www.instagram.com/sehaqnl/?hl=en
𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗝𝗔𝗡𝗗𝗥𝗔 𝗢𝗥𝗧𝗜𝗭 / 𝗣𝗮𝗽𝗮𝘆𝗮 𝗞𝘂𝗶𝗿 Alejandra Ortiz is a writer, researcher, and grassroots activist.
A Mexican trans woman with a history of marginalization and violence. Her history includes poverty and intrafamilial violence, sex work, use of drugs, having a refugee, and undocumented migrant experience among other intersections. Living in the Netherlands since 2015. Alejandra devotes her activism to the visibility of empowerment of marginalized communities as part of BIPOC orgs and collectives such as TNN, Trans United Europe,Trans Magazine, Amsterdam Pride, Melkweg Expo and her collective; Papaya Kuir among others. Her book De waarheid zal me bevrijden will be launched October 25th by Lebowski Publishers.
Papaya Kuir is a migrant and transfeminist Collective by and for the Latin American Trans and Queer diaspora in the Netherlands. They chose a name that re-introduces the use of the word ‘papaya’ (slang for female genitalia in several Latin American countries). ‘Kuir‘ as a sudaka corruption of the english word queer – a decolonial reclaiming of the language. https://www.instagram.com/papaya_kuir/?hl=en