‘In another life I was a teacher. Now I’m a refugee’ – film tells story of life at Calais camp known as the ‘Jungle’

The camp outside Calais known as the “Jungle”, once home to thousands of people, was demolished by French authorities in 2016. Now a new film tells the story of the camp from a refugee’s perspective.

Scene from film.

Made on location at the “Jungle” camp outside Calais, In Another Life gives voice to refugees own stories.

In Another Life was shot on location in the Calais Jungle and through a fictional story focuses on Adnan a teacher who leaves his once beautiful home in Syria which had become uninhabitable and dangerous, and travels over land and sea trafficked by the opportunists who trade in the currency of human misery.

With a cast of real refugees and professional actors the film captures the true stories and experiences of life in the Jungle as witnessed by the director and production team while filming at the camp.

Film director Jason Wingard was struck by the suffering he saw and unhappy with the depiction of refugees in the news. Undecided whether to travel there to distribute aid, or to make a film, he decided to do both.

“I had a strong conviction that the news in the UK wasn’t quite providing a full picture. The coverage felt fearful and simplistic, writing people off as economic migrants felt deliberately divisive and unfair. To get a sense of what was really going on I believed you had to talk to people living inside the camp. The Calais Jungle had nine thousand people living there. That is nine thousand individuals with nine thousand individual stories,” says Wingard.

Shooting scenes at the camp was a challenging experience for the film crew.

“Filming in the Jungle came with its own set of dangers. The police are brutal with the refugees. Tear-gas was regularly fired into the camp and the police pointed the canisters at us on more than one occasion. We had a trafficker drive a car at us and they followed us out of the camp.

“The dangers didn’t tend to come from the refugees, though. I always found that ironic,” he says.

The film won Best UK Feature at Raindance Film Festival and received the Discovery Award at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) in December 2017.

In Another Life is showing at the Regent Street cinema on 6 February, and at the Curzon Soho cinema with a director’s Q&A on Wednesday 7 February. Film website: inanotherlifethefilm.com

%d bloggers like this: