New Aussie film The Merger and Amnesty International join forces to welcome refugees

New Aussie film, The Merger and Amnesty International today announced an exciting partnership to highlight the positive welcome communities can offer refugees and take a strong message of inclusivity to cinemas around Australia.

The Merger is a tale of a struggling, small town footy team that recruits refugees to survive. Director Mark Grentell and producer Anne Robinson have joined with comedian/actor/writer Damian Callinan to adapt to the screen his award-winning, stage show of the same name.

“By presenting the refugees as part of the solution to Bodgy Creek’s problems, our hope is that those who deem them opportunistic outsiders, see that they have more in common than they previously thought.”

Damian Callinan, who also stars in the film in the lead role of coach Troy Carrington.

“By presenting the refugees as part of the solution to Bodgy Creek’s problems, our hope is that those who deem them opportunistic outsiders, see that they have more in common than they previously thought,” said Damian Callinan, who also stars in the film in the lead role of coach Troy Carrington.

Amnesty International’s My New Neighbour campaign is seeing communities across Australia standing with refugees and calling on the Australian Government to expand and improve the Community Sponsorship program so that more families can rebuild their lives in safety.

“It’s a neighbourhood-led solution to helping people who are in need of protection and a new home and fits seamlessly with the welcoming message of the film,” said Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International, who along with his parents and sisters found refuge in an Australian town not dissimilar to Bodgy Creek.

Every day communities around Australia welcome new neighbours into their neighbourhoods. Sometimes those new neighbours are refugees and the role sporting clubs like the AFL play in welcoming them so that they can rebuild their lives in safety is crucial.

“As someone whose family has benefited personally from the goodness of our neighbours and new community, and now standing with the broader Amnesty community, we’re all really excited to be joining forces with The Merger to take this message to audiences around the country.”

Shankar Kasynathan – Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International 

“As someone whose family has benefited personally from the goodness of our neighbours and new community, and now standing with the broader Amnesty community, we’re all really excited to be joining forces with The Merger to take this message to audiences around the country.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Amnesty on The Merger,” said Director Mark Grentell.

“When we set out to make the film we always hoped desperately that it would speak beyond itself as a film and to the refugee cause more broadly. Amnesty is the perfect partner to help us make that happen and their #mynewneighbour campaign is a wonderfully positive initiative that connects the film in a very direct way.”

Director Mark Grentell.

“When we set out to make the film we always hoped desperately that it would speak beyond itself as a film and to the refugee cause more broadly. Amnesty is the perfect partner to help us make that happen and their #mynewneighbour campaign is a wonderfully positive initiative that connects the film in a very direct way,” said Director Mark Grentell.

The Merger will have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival on 11 August at the Comedy Theatre, a national launch in Wagga on 28 August, and then open in the rest of the country from 30 August.

Background

Community sponsorship is a model where ordinary members of the community are able to sponsor visas for refugees, who wish to begin the process of rebuilding their lives in safety in Australia. However currently the community sponsorship program in Australia is capped at only 1,000 places this year and for every privately sponsored refugee, the government takes a space away from the annual humanitarian intake of 13,500.

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