Sonita Gale, writer-director of upcoming documentary Hostile, which recently won Best Documentary Feature at the 2021 South London Film Festival, lends her thoughts on her debut film and Britain’s complicated relationship with migrant communities. Sonita embarks on a Q&A Tour of the film across Picturehouse Cinemas, launching at Finsbury Park on Friday 21 January.
I embarked on my directorial debut, the documentary Hostile, at the start of lockdown. My parents migrated to the UK in the 1950s, and their personal struggles when they arrived inspired me to take a wide-ranging look at the country’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities.
Hostile is a feature-length documentary focusing on the UK’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities. The film reveals the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ – a term used by the UK government in 2012 to illustrate the atmosphere they wanted to create for migrants, with the intention of provoking them to leave of their own accord.
After decades of hostile immigration policies, Britain has reached a crisis point. With Brexit and the new points-based immigration system taking effect on international and EU migrants, the film asks: once the ‘hostile environment’ has targeted all migrants, who will it extend to next?
In making Hostile, I want to raise awareness of the issues migrants face in our country, and what it feels like to live under a hostile environment. The stories I came across were of people whose backgrounds are not so different from that of my parents, but whose chances of making a life here have become all but impossible.
I am so grateful to PictureHouse for taking on this tour and to all the independent cinemas that will host screenings for us in the future.