BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS charts the remarkable story of three newlyarrived refugee children as they make their way through the last sixmonths of an intensive English course at the Highgate Primary School,in Perth, Western Australia. It follows their often emotional journeyas they come to terms with a new language in a strange environmentwhile dealing with a very unfamiliar society.
A story of survival and resilience, giving optimism to Australia's future.
At times provocative and poignant but full of youthful energy and humour, BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS interweaves three stories of hope against a backdrop of war, separation and loss. The children, Filimon, Martin and Mujtaba, share the challenges of taking their first tentative steps towards their new lives, but they have had very different journeys from each other.
Filimon, a 12 year old from war torn Eritrea, spent 7 years in a Sudanese refugee camp before coming to Australia. He is in a race against time to get ready for the daunting transition from primary to high school. With virtually no prior schooling Filimon struggles to come to terms with the academic demands of Year Seven. The possibility of being placed in a mainstream High School threatens to put him at risk. Martin, also 12 years old was a refugee in Uganda for 11 years. He dreams of playing football for his newly adopted country. Martin strives to realize the ambitions of his father, from whom he has been separated for most of his life. Mujtaba, a 13 year old from Afghanistan, on the surface seems to be well-adjusted but is still dealing with the trauma of his past. His family, who fled racial and religious persecution at the hands of the Taliban, have only recently been reunited.
There is one person who knows what these children face every day- Tania Bertocchi is the teacher who guides these children through this new and unfamiliar landscape. Tania’s classroom, a world away from the lives they have left behind, it is a safe haven where they can begin to begin to explore and understand their new world.
BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS tells these stories from the children's own perspective and allows an audience unique access into their emotional world. It provides a beautifully intimate portrait of their struggles and their triumphs marked by laughter, tantrums and tears.
Stylistically BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS is a rich tapestry. Observational documentary is interwoven with: animation; the children's photography, artwork, songs and storytelling; and evocative exploration.
The six month period which encompasses Filimon, Martin and Mujtabas’ stories is a pivotal bridge between the journey from their troubled past to their potential future.
BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS explores the sometimes difficult decisions that these pre-teens confront. What becomes very clear at every step of this story is how these children’s infectious enthusiasm and their sheer determination helps them to deal with the enormous obstacles in their path. The magnitude of their achievements only fully understood in the light of the heartbreaking reality of their past.
BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS is the story of Filimon, Martin and Mujtaba’s journey of survival, resilience, and optimism. At the same time, it provides a touching, dynamic and entertaining insight into the ever changing face of Australian society.
Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ provocative documentary is a “devastating portrait of contemporary social inequality" - The New Yorker.
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