I was fortunate enough to attend the 120 minute long screening of Cast from the Storm, followed by a special Q&A with the filmmakers and cast, in the form of 16 year old Asfar Habeb, who was 13 at the time of making the documentary. A debut feature from young filmmaker David Mason, refugee and asylum seeker children, share their extraordinary stories with us.
It's also about the passionate, dedicated people whom work with the children and the Treehouse Theatre, an after-school theatre group that serves to support and help these young people remake their home.
Though it's David's first attempt at directing a documentary, it won Best Direction in a Documentary Stand Alone at the Australian DIrector's Guild Awards 2016; and its not difficult to see why. The stories of the young people are well documented in a touching and tender manner and is the heart of this doco.
Its beautifully edited as it runs smoothly between the children, the challenges they face, their road to recovery and the dedication of Treehouse Theatre's Ruth Hartcher-O'Brien (who attended the Q&A), Catherine Maguire-Donvito, along with her supportive family, and Tehmineh, who guided the young group featured in the doco. Taken by the chance to share such a powerful story about forced migration, David left the Seven Network in 2013 to work on Cast from the Storm full-time.
Catherine and Ruth are old friends connecting in their work with young refugees. Catherine is a Psychologist and School Counsellor and Ruth a Drama and English as a Second Language Teacher. Their love of theatre and belief in the power of stories to enliven and transform, now takes us inside the experience of the story-teller that focuses on the triumph of the human spirit rather than the politics surrounding the issue.
As for the children, they will make you laugh and cry, and your heart will ache for many, as you hear the stories of the innocent. Its just as heartbreaking to watch the realisation of the parents, as they hear the voices and deep feelings of their children for the first time, through their theatre performances. This is a must see that'll give you a raw and intimate insight into the turbulent and deeply moving journey of dark memories and powerful transformations