A PROJECT BY LOLA ARIAS AND THE OPEN BORDER ENSEMBLE / IN ARABIC, GERMAN AND ENGLISH
Director: Lola Arias
You flee from one country and arrive in another. When you get there, you have no passport, no photos, no papers, no documents whatsoever that prove who you are and why you left. Just your body and a story. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees states that any person persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, belonging to a social group or political opinion, has the right to request asylum. Of the whole application process, the most crucial part is an interview where a state official, an interpreter and the applicant meet behind closed doors. For two or three hours, the credibility of the applicants’ story is judged through their words and gestures and everything is written down in the records, like a little chamber play. How do you say what they want to hear? What gestures, silences or emotions will determine your destiny? How do you tell a credible story to someone who only sees your country on Google Maps?
“What They Want to Hear” is a project made in collaboration with Syrian and German actors, activists and refugees, on the art of storytelling at a time when borders are closing.