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Indie documentary shortlisted for prestigious award

Posted on 09/03/2012

A film directed by a Media Arts lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London is going head-to-head with major broadcasters after being shortlisted for a prestigious film award.

Hamedullah: the road home will be pitted against productions by the BBC and Channel 4 in the Children's Rights category of the One World Media Awards which recognises outstanding media coverage of the developing world and rewards the work of journalists and filmakers.

Sue Clayton, senior lecturer at Royal Holloway, directed the low budget documentary after learning of the plight of young asylum seekers who, after seeking refuge in the UK, were often deported without warning when they turned 18-years-old.

Her moving documentary follows the story of Hamedullah Hassany, a young teen who fled to the UK from Afghanistan and lived safely and happily in Canterbury until one day he was snatched from his bed in a dawn raid and jailed pending deportation.

It charts Hamedullah’s journey home, from the day he was led barefoot in the rain to a coach, handcuffed to Border Agency guards, to his terrifying return back to Afghanistan - a country blighted by violence and destruction where little family or friends remain.

Following its premiere at an Amnesty International gala in London last September, the documentary has received rave reviews and celebrity endorsements, with Oscar winning star Emma Thompson calling it a “very important film ” and Amnesty International stating that it is a "bold, original documentary comparable to Winterbottom’s In this World”.

Ms Clayton said: “This is a great achievement that it is up there with some of the major broadcasters, who have larger budgets and big publicity machines to promote their films. I applied online at the last moment and was thrilled to be shortlisted. This proves that independent films - such as many of us make as our students make - can go on to stand up against broadest material in quality and creativity."

The documentary now faces another round of judging before the winners are announced at the annual award ceremony in May.

For more information about the awards, visit the One World Media website. For more information about Sue Clayton's films, visit her website.


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