Update 08/06/17

I’m writing to everyone who contributed to the film Calais Children: A Case to Answer

This is to say that we are in the last two weeks of the film’s edit – and I want to thank you so much for getting it this far.

We have locked off picture and are now doing the sound edit , the music, and all the final stages.

I have rushed it to the finish line because the first of the big High Court cases is being heard at the end of June and one of the Barrister Chambers in the Inns of Court is to hold a screening with Lord Dubs present, to consider what evidence the film presents in the light of the legal challenges. As soon as that’s done I am hoping TV will buy it or at the very least show extracts, and then when that is resolved, will be able to plan its theatric and campaign life after… So be assured I will commit to get it out there the best I can, in the best ways.

On the last two shoots, I met more girls- they are trying every night to get onto the road and are extremely vulnerable. As we know, in the Calais area the police have cracked down very heavily and they are constantly being arrested and held, plus many have encountered danger – one girl Sara, Eritrean, told me that she was hiding in a refrigerated truck (they do this to lower their body temperature to avoid heat-sensor detection) and got to the point where she couldn’t breathe because of the severe cold. Another girl died, aged 17, hit by a truck. Ive also filmed in Calais Nord graveyard where there are rows of graves of refugees who died, many of them lone minors. The graves are marked just with a wooden stick and a number. No name. Whenever it was hard doing this film, that drove me on the extra mile. The thought of kids dying un-named and unknown, so far from home, and so young.

The very last kids we filmed were living in the dunes a the back of where the Jungle used to be, so near the sea their tent got wet on the high tides. It was the only place left for them – hemmed in on all sides by CRS, the fenced road, the port and the sea. (Us too- we got stopped and hassled by the CRS in the night when filming there- kids safely hid, we couldn’t! ) They were pointing to UK in the dark and saying, thats our future. Both they and the girls, should have been here under either Dubs or Dublin 3 Regulation.

There aren’t enough lawyers to take them all on, but we hope our test cases will win and we hope the film will give power to lawyers and others to take this fight on. The possible rescinding of the Human Rights Act will make such situations commonplace- unnecessary hardship and suffering caused to young victims of war.

Ther have been updates on the Calais Children webpage www.calais.gebnet.co.uk. Latest news is we got a small grant from the Bertha Foundation which has helped get us near the end. We remain about £4000 short to cover archive rights, final sound edit and sound mix, and I would like to get a decent phone and/or phone credit, to the 20 or so kids I’ve worked with the most, so that we stay in proper contact in the future. So if you are prepared to pass this on to others to donate I’d be so grateful. ! I thought originally this would be filmed over a week or two in October, and we’ve kept going for 8 months and uniquely seen the whole story through. Now we must wrap to present it to the Government and the courts.

Thanks again, do forward the web address www.calais.gebnet.co.uk to your networks and check it for what happens next with the finished film!

All my sincerest thanks and best wishes for making this possible !
Sue xxxx

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Sue Clayton is a feature and documentary film maker. She has worked on various child and youth asylum projects over 15 years, consulting and producing news stories for ITV and BBC . Her award-winning independent film Hamedullah: The Road Home www.hamedullahtheroadhome.com has been screened at over 200 activist and debate events, and is regularly shown in UK Immigration Courts and in the Upper Tribunal cases as evidence that forced removal of young people to Kabul is not, as the Home Office says, safe. She is also creating an archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK see www.bigjourneys.org and she works with a ESRC-funded research team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers www.uncertainjourneys.org.uk