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Lampedusa in Winter

Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 6:30pm
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Lampedusa in Winter

Jakob Brossmann | 
Austria/Italy/Switzerland |
 2015 | 
93 minutes


A broken down ferry, an isolated island, a group of angry fishermen, and an influx of trapped refugees... This might sound like the beginnings of a thriller, but the situation is real. This is the challenging predicament for the Italian island of Lampedusa. As thousands of people try to escape war and oppression by fleeing across the Mediterranean, the result is an epidemic of death by drowning. Lampedusa is strategically close to Europe, and therefore the entry port for many refugees from Africa. This small island community is put to the test with the continuous arrival of new refugees. But when the only ferry that services the island breaks down, things get exponentially grimmer. The town’s mayor, Giusi Nicolini, is faced with the difficult job of attempting to solve everyone’s problems.

When the other camera crews reporting on the refugee crisis leave, Austrian director Jakob Brossmann decides to stay and observe people over the winter. By sticking around he is able to create an intimate, fully-rounded portrait of the residents. With great skill the film captures everyday life on the Island including a local boys soccer team, a radio DJ, and a Coast Guard rescue crew. An important work that provides analysis on the refugee crisis, Lampedusa in Winter also explores the remarkable level of compassion that can be engendered in the midst of a desperate struggle for survival. -NH


Jakob Brossmann

Born in 1986 in Vienna, Jakob Brossmann studied Stage and Film Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. His work alternates between theater, photography, fine arts and documentary film. In 2010, he directed the short film call back, followed by A Day’s Work in 2011.

Justice Forum Panelist

Daniel Tseghay

Daniel Tseghay is a Vancouver-based, Eritrean writer and organizer who’s written for, The Georgia Straight, and the Toronto Star, among others. He's currently in the early stages of campaigning with others to include African Refugees in Canada's discussion around the refugee crisis.

Justice Forum Panelist

Don Wright

Don Wright is a regional activism coordinator based at the Vancouver office of Amnesty International. He works to promote public engagement with human rights issues rooted in Canada and around the world. Amnesty has long reported on the challenges facing people escaping human rights violations and is currently asking Canada to introduce flexible and speedy procedures around family reunification and to refrain from detaining children or separating them from their parents against their will.