Freedom Is Beautiful is the story of two extraordinary Kurdish refugees, Farhad Bandesh and Mostafa (Moz) Azimitabar who fled persecution in Iran & arrived separately by boat into Australia seeking asylum in 2013.
Reaching Christmas Island just days after the Rudd Government instituted Australia’s new hard-line offshore processing policy in July that year, they were transferred offshore & subsequently held for almost 8 years by the Federal Government.
On Manus Island, where they spent 6 years, they met & formed a close friendship founded on art, music & a shared desire to speak out & resist. In 2019 they were transferred to the mainland & spent 18 months in immigration detention in Melbourne. In 2021, just a month apart, they finally gained their freedom, for the first time in their lives.
Moz and Farhad are exceptional, charismatic & articulate men, who from their early years of detention on Manus, rose to become pivotal voices in the collective struggle against an arbitrary regime that unjustly imprisoned thousands of innocent & vulnerable people.
During years of captivity in an environment of institutionalised brutality & violence, they experienced health issues, trauma, PTSD. They witnessed suffering and death, were isolated, dehumanised & assailed by a system deliberately designed to humiliate & break them. They refused to succumb.
Instead, they found tranquillity through music & art. This not only helped them survive, but also fight back, making connections to the outside world, building networks & perpetually using their voice to fight tirelessly for the freedom of everyone held.
Despite their ordeal, they did not give into hatred or resentment. Instead, they grasped onto hope, expressed solidarity with the Australian people & preached love as the way to ‘kill the monsters’ and defeat the system.
The debut feature from award-winning visual artist Angus McDonald, Freedom is Beautiful is an uplifting story of the power of love and our shared humanity.
Freedom Is Beautiful screens as part of the 2023 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival at Cinema Nova on Saturday 29th July (7.00pm) and Sunday 30 July (5.30pm). For more information, visit: www.mdff.org.au for details. Checkout the trailer here!
Image: Freedom Is Beautiful (still)