Batoor: A Refugee Journey
Afghani photojournalist Barat Ali Batoor won a Walkley Award for the images he captured on his own refugee boat journey.
One of Afghanistan’s leading photographers, Batoor first won international acclaim in 2011 for his powerful photo essay exposing one of his country’s darkest secrets – the scandalous and brutal trade in young ‘dancing boys’ used for entertainment and prostitution.
But his work made him a target of the Taliban and the powerful warlords who control the evil trade. Forced to flee, he took refuge in the Pakistani city of Quetta. But with the targeted killings of Batoor’s own Hazara community on the rise in the city, he again became a target of assassins.
With imminent death threats against him, Batoor was forced to flee along an asylum seeker route taken by thousands before him.
He embarked on an epic journey that saw him traverse three continents, be people smuggled over multiple borders, survive a shipwreck in the open seas, become lost in the jungles of Indonesia, escape from imprisonment and spend months living undercover as an illegal immigrant.
Remarkably, Batoor recorded his entire journey, creating a compelling record of his own journey and the lives of asylum seekers in a perilous world of cross border trafficking and risky sea voyages.
Finally granted refugee status in Australia, the 37 year-old has retraced his 13-months journey creating a powerful account of his odyssey and turning his film footage and Walkley-winning images into a stunning 90 minute film.
‘Batoor: A Refugee Journey’ tells the harrowing story of one person’s struggle to find freedom and safety while also probing moral issues around human displacement, people smuggling and migration policy.
The film highlights the powerlessness and the precarious lives of the world’s 70 million displaced souls; and is an attempt to give a voice to the planet’s most vulnerable people.