On Monday night, celebrities, journalists and a host of Sydney’s movers and shakers attended a red carpet film premiere with a twist.
The Hot Potato - The Road to Transformation is a deeply moving and ambitious documentary. Following the journey of a hot potato food van as it travels around Australia on the eve of the 2013 federal election, on an education and awareness campaign about asylum seekers and refugees.
Not only has this become the biggest 'hot potato' in Australian politics, it is a polarising issue on which everyone seems to have an opinion.
The public awareness project aims to fuel national opinion with facts not fears and start millions of conversations to address the myths perpetuated via the media and political rhetoric. The journey uncovers an overwhelming sensitivity to the humanitarian needs of asylum seekers, 'the world's most vulnerable people', and a strong desire to redefine our national character in the way we look after them.
The film was followed by a vigorous Q&A session and there is no easy solution to this situation. However judging from the level of enthusiastic conversation following the exclusive screening, the film shows an honest snapshot of an Australia eager to move forward - a road to transformation towards an opinion we can all be proud of.
The film is now online to watch and share (and beneath). This is not the end of a campaign – it is only the very beginning.
Visit the campaigns website http://www.thehotpotato.com.au and show your support through facebook https://www.facebook.com/Asylum.Seeker.Resource.Centre.ASRC
Notable guests included:
Imogen Bailey – actor, activist and ASRC Ambassador
Mark Seymour – musician and ASRC Ambassador
Miss Chu – Restauranteur and Entrepreneur
Chris Taylor – The Chaser
Tom Ballard – JJJ Presenter & ambassador of Welcome to Australia
Indira Naidoo - Journalist
Brian Nankervis – Television presenter and MC
Omar Musa – performance poet
"This is an important film about a complex and emotional issue. Moving, challenging, powerful and ultimately uplifting" said Brian Nankervis (SBS Rockwiz)
"A novel and engaging contribution to a debate that in recent years has, on both sides, become bogged down in slogans and ideological barking. The Hot Potato deserves big points for asking that bluntest of questions - why don't we like refugees? - and deserves to be seen for its attempts to point a new, more personal way forward" from Chris Taylor (The Chaser)
Mark Seymour (Musician, Writer) commented "The Hot Potato goes to the very heart of one of the most defining issue in our nation's history: Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. And the news is good… it is warm, funny and deeply incisive. The conversion of Reg the driver, from sceptic to advocate is truly magnificent. There may even be a song in it! I recommend this doco to anybody who feels confused, threatened or fearful about what "stopping the boats" really means. If you're looking for answers - there all here"
With Indira Naidoo (ABC Journalist and presenter) noting that "This documentary explodes myths and challenges prejudices. It puts some much-needed heart back into the asylum seeker debate"
Produced by Heckler
Director: Tim Gibbs
Producer: Alistair Pratten
Executive Producer: Will Alexander
Created by Republic of Everyone
Founder: Ben Peacock
Creative Director: Ben Akers
Creative: Scott Maggs
For the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre:
Director of Community Pillar: Jana Favaro
Lead Cast: Imogen Bailey / Jana Favero / Reg Roordink
Ambassadors: Malcolm Fraser / Wally De Backer (Gotye) / Julian Burnside / Mark Seymour /John Jarratt / Bishop Philip Huggins / Brian Nankervis / Miss Chu / Van Badham / Zoe Marshall / Omar Musa
The residents of Melbourne, Echuca, Shepparton, Albury, Queanbeyan, Canberra, Mudgee, Dubbo, Tamworth, Newcastle, Sydney, Manly, Parramatta and Brisbane
Director of Photography: Garry Wapshott
Camera Operators: Garry Wapshott, Tim Gibbs, Michael Gibbs
Senior Editor: Andrew Holmes
Sound Recordist: Michael Wyse
2nd Unit Camera Operator: Brad Francis
2nd Unit Sound recordist: Lachlan Simpson
Health and Safety Officer and Hot Potato Van Driver: Reg Roordink
Locations Scout: Anna Deakins
Locations Assistant: Christine Luby
Location Editor: Tim Kindler
Edit Assistant and Data Wrangler: Greg Constantaras
Colourist: Christine Trodd
Online: Andrew Holmes
Title Designer: Republic of Everyone
Song Credits: Mark Seymour - "A Long Way to the Water"
The Hot Potato Caterer: Samantha Jakubiak
The Hot Potato Catering Assistant: Rebecca Galler
The Hot Potato Catering Assistant: Ahmed
Republic of Everyone:
Project Manager: Dae Levine
Agency Producer: Helen Morahan
Account Manager: Monica Batchelder
Public Relations: Sonia Caeiro
Music & Sound;
Rumble Sound Studios: Tone Aston / Johnny Green / Damian Press / Michael Lira / Damian De Boos-Smith / Russell Thornton / Joshua McBeath
Partner organisations; Amnesty International / Chillout / Refugee Council of Australia / Save the Children Australia / Welcome to Australia / ASRC Catering Volunteers
With note to the kind donor who made the Hot Potato possible: Musician Mark Seymour and Actor John Jarrattview more - Creative