Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time

Arash Kamali Sarvestani • 89m

Since 2013 the Australian Government has been incarcerating refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat on Manus Island and Nauru. The Manus Island compound currently detains a refugee who is also a journalist. This individual strives to gather information for an Australian journalist visiting the island and who wants to publish an article in the press about events in the detention facility. At the center of his investigation is a solitary confinement cell called Chauka, which is like a prison inside the prison. Some of the detainees speak to the refugee- journalist about their horrific experiences in the camp -especially in Chauka. At the same time, the visiting Australian journalist is investigating what Chauka means for the local Manusians. It appears that Chauka is the name of a bird which can be found only on Manus Island; it is the symbol of the island and decorates its flag. She speaks to some of the locals. Both the detained journalist and the visiting Australian journalist critically analyse different aspects the situation. We encounter first- hand experiences of what life inside the camp means, how it is governed, the political games between Australia and PNG on this matter, the way Manusians are treated by Australians, and the way locals think about the existence of the camp on their island.