With its new project via Instagram, SBS invites you to follow the personal journey of Yunus, a 27 year old Rohingya man who now lives in Melbourne.
Since the project launched in mid-August, audiences have followed Yunus through a series of videos and photos as he navigates his new home while continuing to support his family overseas. He's the only member of his family to have reached Australia and continues to assist his family living in Thangkali Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Yunus' mother, siblings, nieces and nephews continue to live alongside almost one million Rohingya who have just overcome the monsoon season in one of the country’s most flood-prone regions, with the cyclone season now looming.
"She Called Me Red is based on technologies which have been crucial to the Rohingya and other recent waves of refugees," explained SBS Commissioning Editor for Online Documentaries Kylie Boltin. "The mobile phone has profoundly changed the lived experienced for refugees. Refugees use IM and social media to maintain fragile connections with the family members they've been separated from."
The project’s dynamic form utilises a combination of multiple media sources: user-generated content, professional photography, illustration, video, and data visualisation. Live photography and footage sent directly from the camps was uploaded by SBS documentaries.
Thanks to the elegant look of She Called Me Red and the relative ease in which we all use Instagram as users, the project was deceptively more complex than many would expect. While the team working directly on the project at SBS was relatively small, the overall production team swelled to ten people located all over the world – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Brooklyn NY, Bangladesh, and even Prague.
"We worked with Matty Huynh on the art (who I worked with on The Boat) and GMB Akash, a renowned Bangladesh photographer on the footage from Cox’s bazar. Of course, Yunus’s own family kindly shared daily user-generated video footage of their daily lives in the camp, which is an incredibly intimate view into their world," Boltin said.
As a project designed to evolve and grow in real-time, She Called Me Red has been able to incorporate real-world developments and events happening in the lives of Yunus and his family.
"We were live with the first part of the project when the Rohingya community in Melbourne and also Bangladesh celebrated EID – the footage that came through for that day was some of my favourite from the camps. A home-made Ferris wheel was erected by the refugees in celebration, and then we also had the one year anniversary since the crisis began. We were able to publish protests from that day," Boltin recounted.
Audiences can follow Yunus’ journey on Instagram via @SBS.online.documentaries.