IMPACT SCREENINGS

Hostile is travelling across the country as part of our Impact Campaign. We are particularly looking to screen the film in underrepresented communities that have an interest in watching the documentary, or who would like to use the film as an educational tool.

Please get in touch at info@galeforcefilms.co.uk if you would like to arrange an impact screening at your organisation.

Liverpool Hope University – January 2024

On January 30th, director Sonita Gale joined students at Liverpool Hope University for a brief introduction following a screening of her documentary Hostile.

This was the second screening of the film at the university, held during a class on Contemporary Issues of Hostile Environment Policy, in which a small cohort of approximately 30 third-year students in the Health and Social Care/ Social Sciences School are asked to generate a poster as a result of their work on wider issues related to the impact of the Hostile Environment Policy in the UK on migrant people. 

The screening was hosted by Simona Palladino, Lecturer in Social Sciences at Liverpool Hope University. After the screening, Simona said:

“At Liverpool Hope University, the School of Social Sciences is deeply committed to challenging societal inequalities and supporting local communities. 

To enhance teaching opportunities for our students HOSTILE has been included in our curriculum: Health and Well Being/ Social Care program. Specifically, third-year undergraduate students attending the Advance Research Seminar were invited to reflect on current critical issues for marginalized groups of people in the UK, via the film HOSTILE. 

The film screening and the Q&A with Director Sonita Gale were inspiring and thought-provoking. Students had access to first-hand accounts of people affected by the hostile policy in the UK.  In the near future, students will be encouraged to interpret the Hostile narrative concerning wider policies that criminalise and exclude non-citizens, via the design of Posters. These posters will be showcased for their final assessments, and they will be focused on fighting against discrimination, xenophobia, and prejudices in our modern days.”

Thanks to Simona and Liverpool Hope University for showcasing this film as part of their curriculum. We appreciate that the film continues to have an impact with students and young people across the country.

Magnify Conference – November 2023

On November 15th, director Sonita took part in a panel discussion at the 2023 Magnify Conference.

The conference focuses on advocating for inclusion in design and research, and Sonita’s perspective was requested to help them consider a broader range of people in research, and to discuss the challenges faced by marginalised communities in general. 

The event included a discussion on Sonita’s process as a documentary filmmaker, and a Q&A hosted by Imran Akhtar, who is a Magnify Conference ambassador.

After the screening, organiser Imran got in touch to say that the “Hostile documentary means a lot to me for several reasons. As a child of immigrant parents, I connect with the generational trauma of diaspora. It’s crucial to bring awareness to the hostile environment, to shed light on the suffering people endure, and to advocate for necessary changes in harsh laws.”

“Hostile was an eye opening story of the history of the thread of immigration into England. The only way to preserve history is to tell the story from the point of view from the point of view of the immigrant community who lived and are living with the long lasting effects. The interview with Sonita was informative and showed a real passion to keep learning from the past and making a positive future that everyone can be a part of and contribute to.”

Thanks to the team at Magnify for helping give Hostile a wider audience, and for taking the time to consider and celebrate the effort that goes into the research behind documentary filmmaking.

Byline Festival – July 2023

Last week, Hostile played as part of the 2023 programme for Byline Festival in Devon. 

Byline Festival is organised by The Byline Times, the British newspaper known for its investigations into social justice issues. They described the festival as “a weekend of ideas, food, dancing and thinking about how we can change the world for the better.” 

The lineup this year included the likes of Guardian columnist George Monbiot, investigative journalist John Sweeney, and MP Dawn Butler. 

The film played on Friday and was followed by a Q&A with Director Sonita Gale, hosted by Caolan Roberston, who is the founder and Director of Byline TV, and a filmmaker himself. 

After the screening, organiser Stephen Colgrave got in touch to say “many thanks for bringing your film Hostile down to Byline Festival. The film and the documentary had great feedback and tackled one of the important themes of the festival in a very moving way.” 

When making Hostile, news sources like The Byline Times were so vital. Too often, the biggest media outlets in this country don’t take the time to investigate the social issues covered in the film. 

Kantonsschule Switzerland – June 2023

On June 29th, Hostile screened in Switzerland for the very first time. The film was played to students at the Kantonsschule in Küsnacht, Zürich. 

The students watched the film as part of a module on immigration in England, and discussed the film in relation to Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, a fictional story about a man who seeks asylum from Nigeria. 

After the screening, their teacher Murielle Del Monego reached out to say: “Thank you so much for letting us watch your documentary. After reading the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave in class, it was extremely interesting to get a non-fictional impression of the current situation in England. The students were very focused while watching the film. Not only did we compare the scenes shown in the book with the real-life situations you depict in your film, but we also thoroughly discussed the political situation that you address and compared it to Swiss migration laws. 

My goal was to show the students that the hard life of the migrant portrayed by Chris Cleave might be a fictional plot, but her cruel fate is very much real. Moreover, the students came to the conclusion that we are facing similar problems here in Switzerland. Migration laws are very problematic and might work on a systemic level, but are often inhuman on an individual level.” 

As the film’s impact tour continues, Director Sonita Gale hopes to do more screenings in schools outside of Britain. Hostile’s messages are universal, and the ‘hostile environment’ can be found in similar iterations all over the world. It is vital that these discussions continue. 

Newham Council – June 2023

On Wednesday 28th July, Hostile screened in partnership with Newham Council, for an evening of discussion and reflection around Windrush Day. 

Attendees gathered at the Stratford Youth Zone to watch the film, and ask their questions of Director Sonita Gale in a Q&A afterwards hosted by Priscilla Igwe, Director of the New Black Film Collective. 

The group discussed showing the film to political institutions and reflected on how little is known on less pleasant parts of the recent UK’s history, like the attitudes of MPs such as Enoch Powell.

Following the screening, Priscilla reached out to say that evening “was a dynamic night of debate and reflection on controversial issues of immigration. Sonita Gale’s masterful depiction of the injustices connected to No Recourse to Public Funds and the Windrush Scandal is the wake up call we all need!”

Lily Dettmer, of Newham Council, added that “screening Hostile was an integral part of Newham’s Windrush Programme, to ensure the stories of those impacted by the Windrush scandal and other immigration policies are not lost. Audience members shared afterwards how shocked they were to discover the NRPF policies and how this impacts people and families who have grown up in this country, as these are not widely shared in the media. I think it’s vital that people see this film to raise awareness of the terrible impact government policies are inflicting on people, and the levels of systemic racism embedded in them.”

Many organisations have hosted events to recognise 75 years since the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush. Hostile was delighted to also participate in the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival, which took place in May. 

Refugee Week and Windrush Day – June 2023

To mark both Refugee Week and Windrush Day, Hostile completed a marathon programme of screenings last week – playing seven times in seven days! 

The film was shown across the UK and beyond, screening in London, Cardiff, Plymouth, Lancaster, Sheffield, and concluding with a screening at a mini-festival in Berlin. 

Director Sonita Gale personally attended several screenings for Q&A discussions, including one in Islington, where she joined campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE and Michael Braithwaite, a victim of the Windrush Scandal. 

An audience member at Islington said that the film “highlighted the growing ‘hostile environment’ and how it covers people from various backgrounds.” 

Patrick Vernon OBE summed up the importance of Windrush Day generally: “It’s a time to acknowledge the legacy of those first Windrush pioneers, the challenges they overcame and the contribution they made to Britain. For many of us it’s about family: the parents and grandparents who paved the way and on whose shoulders we stand.

“This is a bittersweet moment, tainted by the injustice of the Windrush scandal. But ultimately, it’s a time to celebrate this milestone for Britain and for the Black community. The film screening of hostile highlight the campaign to end the hostile environment policy as part of ending the scandal”

Following the Plymouth screening, organiser Waleed Abdallah, said “I wish you were here last night to see the massive impact on almost everybody in the room. Congratulations, that was one hell of a film, it left many of us with a storm of thoughts.  Personally I believe it’s the best film night we have had since we started the Refugee Film Festival over a decade ago.” 

Jonathan Illott, a Programmer at Duke’s Lancaster added that “Hostile is an incredibly important call to action, and we are honoured to have been able share the film’s vital message with audiences in Lancaster to mark the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week”

This was an important opportunity to further the aims of the Hostile impact campaign: raising awareness, and pushing for policy change.

City of Sanctuary – June 2023

On Wednesday 14th June, Hostile was shown simultaneously to multiple branches of the City of Sanctuary all across the country. 

Director Sonita Gale has visited many of these places in person while on tour with Hostile. 

The City of Sanctuary is a charitable organisation that coordinates a ‘network of welcome’ across the UK. Since its founding in 2005, it has awarded ‘Sanctuary Status’ to thousands of schools, councils, theatres and cities. Over a hundred people saw it online. Even more saw it at viewing parties, to ensure that everyone had access to the evening. 

The group then gathered online for a Q&A with Sonita, hosted by Loraine Mponela, a poet and Lived Experience Ambassador for the City of Sanctuary. The two spoke about the importance of building bridges within and between communities and the responsibility of the electorate to vote in politicians who push compassionate immigration policy. 

After the screening, Amanda Jones of Shropshire Supports Refugees reached out after the screening to say 

“I’m glad to see that the film had a broader spectrum of issues because this highlights how the government’s hostile policy is aimed at its own citizens, not just desperate refugees. I was shocked to see the broad spectrum of people affected by it, but sadly not shocked to see how heartless local authorities can be when they don’t want to support grassroots organisations.

I feel very lucky that my local authority currently supports us to help refugees and migrants very well. However, none of us can be complacent in these changing and challenging times.”   

The evening was a fitting precursor to Refugee Week, which starts on Monday, as well as Windrush Day on Thursday. 

 

Windrush Caribbean Film Festival – June 2023

Hostile screened at the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival over the weekend. 

The Windrush Caribbean Film Festival brings together works from diverse British filmmakers, and “seeks to engage and educate audiences across the UK about the contributions of the Windrush generation and their descendants.”

It played at the Watershed in Bristol, a diverse city with a long and complex history of migration. In 2020, a statue depicting Colston – a slave-trader – was pulled down at a protest and ignited discussions around how dark historical legacies should be acknowledged in public spaces. 

Hostile features the stories of many from the Windrush generation, so it was a good opportunity to reflect on the stories of Anthony Bryan and Paulette Wilson, and the lessons that need to be learned. 

After the screening, the Festival Director, Diana Webley said “Hostile is a major and powerful film about immigrants’ stories in the UK that was absolutely essential to screen at WCFF 2023 for the 75th anniversary of Windrush.” 

Festival Artistic Director, Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe MBE, added “if there was ever a film which best captured the complex relationship that the UK has with its immigrant communities it’s Hostile. As with all great documentaries, Sonita Gale’s film is relentless in its curiosity.”

The Brit School – June 2023

Director Sonita Gale got to meet some British filmmakers of the future on Wednesday 7th June, when she joined students at the Brit School for a screening and Q&A of Hostile. 

The Brit School is The Brit School is a performing and creative arts school, based in Croydon with famous alumni including Adele, Amy Winehouse and FKA Twigs. 

The audience were Year 12 students, all studying Film and Media Production. As they approach their final year, where they will be making their own documentaries, the screening was a great opportunity for them to take advice from someone working in the industry. 

The Q&A explored the importance of heritage and culture to storytelling and how to harness creativity during difficult times, as well as more technical aspects of production such as casting and honing down story ideas. 

Following the screening, Philippa Bloomfield – Assistant Head of Film and Media Production – reached out to say “We were all moved by the powerful message of Hostile and the insight it gave us into the issues facing migrants in modern Britain. Students really enjoyed hearing about how Sonita made the documentary through perseverance, passion and hard work, and she shared invaluable advice with our students on how to find inspiration and develop their ideas.”

While this screening was private, as we approach both Refugee Week and Windrush Day, there are some exciting screening and Q&A events in the diary. 

Join the conversation and visit our ticketing page to find out where you can see Hostile. 

Liverpool Hope University – May 2023

Having not been shown in Liverpool since it played at Picturehouse At FACT in January 2022, Hostile returned this week for a screening with Liverpool Hope University. 

On Wednesday 17th May, attendees gathered at the Eden Building on campus for an event organised by Dr Simona Palladino, a Lecturer in Social Sciences at Liverpool Hope. 

As a port city, Liverpool has historically been a site of multiculturalism and migration and is home to Britain’s oldest black community, according to Dr Ray Costello. 

The screening was followed by a Q&A where the group discussed ways to bring about impact and push for positive change, both as filmmakers and as concerned citizens. 

After the screening, Dr Palladino reached out to say that “Hostile is an outstanding documentary that aims to challenge social issues, by capturing the untold stories of migrants in the UK. It is a powerful documentary as denounces discriminations and inequality, therefore it is a must for all.

We were honoured to learn from Sonita about the documentary as a tool to make an impact on people’s life and to attract attention of policy makers. She was inspiring and heart-warning, an example for us all. We really wish to be able to continue these conversations forward with more staff and students next year.”

Often emotional, this screening was a reminder of the work left to do and the importance of keeping these conversations going. As part of this, Hostile will be screening in many locations around the UK as part of Refugee Week and Windrush Day. 

King Alfred School – April 2023

Hostile was shown in a secondary school for the first time on Friday 28th April. 

Parents, teachers and students at the King Alfred School in Hampstead gathered at the Phoenix Theatre to watch Hostile and to ask their questions of Director Sonita Gale and Sir Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham. 

The entire evening was organised by a Year 10 student at the school, Lorenzo Espinosa. He first came across Hostile as part of Global Challenges, a GCSE-equivalent subject that equips pupils to have a positive Impact on the world.

The evening was run as a fundraiser for Newham Community Project, the food bank featured in Hostile. Lorenzo spent a morning volunteering there in advance of the screening and gave a moving account of his experience in the Q&A discussion afterwards.

After the event, Sir Stephen got in touch to sayI very much agree with the view expressed by Boris Johnson in the film, that law-abiding, hard woring people who lose their livelihood “should be entitled to help of one kind or another”.  Unfortunately, the then Prime Minister’s natural response was not the policy of his government. The campaign to put right the wrongs caused by “No Recourse to Public Funds” is continuing.”

Lorenzo also said “the screening of Hostile has made a big impact on my life and changed how I think going forwards. It has made me want to do more good and I want to continue trying my best to support food banks in my area and others. I’m so glad I put on this event and it was great to see that people wanted to take time to learn about it and try have an impact themselves.” 

Global Challenges teacher, Alistair McConville, seconded this “The screening of Hostile at King Alfred School was a powerful and moving experience. I feel not only better informed about issues around immigration, but also motivated to do something more about its worst impacts. The experience of seeing people with No Recourse To Public Funds queuing at a food bank is not easily forgotten, and has strengthened our commitment to education that makes a difference.”

NHS Providers – March 2023

Hostile was shown to the NHS Providers on Monday 17th April. 

The NHS Providers is the public voice for NHS Trusts. It is a membership organisation that collectively accounts for 1.4 million staff, and takes part in negotiations between trusts and the Department of Health. 

The ‘hostile environment’ fundamentally affects healthcare workers in the United Kingdom. Hostile immigration policies affect the supply of healthcare workers as well as the quality of life they enjoy. 

Following the film, Director Sonita Gale and Sir Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of the NHS Providers, sat down for a conversation about her experiences making the film, the ramifications of Brexit, and the power of grassroots activism. 

Sir Julian Hartley said of the film “This powerful documentary raises fundamental questions about the kind of society we want to be. The NHS has always relied on the talents and commitment of immigrant staff who have given so much in so many ways, so it was harrowing and heart-rending to see people who have come to this country in good faith being cruelly let down.” 

His colleague, Miriam Deakin, Director of Policy and Strategy, added “Hostile is a hard hitting and thought provoking film which lays bare the impact of structural racism including on NHS staff and communities.”

Hostile is incredibly relevant for medical professionals, and Galeforce Films hopes to show the film in many more medical settings moving forward. 

Goldsmiths University – March 2023

Last Thursday, Hostile went to East London for a screening and a Q&A with Director Sonita Gale at Goldsmiths University. 

The evening was organised by the Goldsmiths chapter of STAR, a national network of student groups whose mission is ‘building a more understanding and just society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive in the UK.’ As well as running a university application mentorship programme, across 2021-2022, the 44 STAR groups supported 1580 people seeking asylum through 46 community projects. 

The Q&A discussion afterwards explored Sonita’s motivations for making Hostile, and the particular impact of Partition and her desire to keep its legacy alive. The group also talked about the need to take care of ourselves so that we can care for others. 

Lucy May, STAR-member and the organiser of the event, said “The documentary was amazing. It was incredibly touching and thought provoking and showed perfectly the devastating effects that the hostile environment created by the government has on so many people’s lives. Seeing the real life consequences of this displayed in such a beautiful way felt incredibly emotional and personal.”

STAR are doing fantastic work in the field of refugee rights, and the evening offered an opportunity to reflect on the importance of activism, and in particular the student community’s role in challenging the ‘hostile environment.’ 

London School of Economics and Political Science – March 2023

On Tuesday 28th March, Hostile screened at the London School of Economics and Political Science to postgraduate students studying with the Department of International Relations. 

As well as being a world-renowned university, LSE is hugely diverse, with staff and students hailing from over 140 different countries. 

There was a fantastic turnout with over one hundred people descending on the Malaysia Auditorium to watch the film and ask their questions of Director Sonita Gale afterwards. 

Points of discussion included the precarious and the vulnerable, the experience of navigating Home Office bureaucracy and the kafkaesque nature of the ‘hostile environment’, as well as steps we should take to educate the population on policies like the Rwanda asylum plan that have enormous impact but are little known about. 

Afterwards, Dr Karen Iversen – who chaired the Q&A – got in touch with Sonita to say “it was a powerful film disentangling the impacts of the hostile environment on just not migrant communities, but on British society more broadly, and the Q&A was a great opportunity for students to learn about ways to become involved with efforts to challenge these policies.” 

Many of the students in attendance also work for charities and are keen to pursue careers in the NGO sector in the future. They have a big part to play in challenging the ‘hostile environment’ moving forward and so many of them had such nuanced and thoughtful perspectives to bring to the conversation.

Thank you to Anna D’Alton and Dr Karen Iversen for their efforts organising this screening.

Habitat International Film Festival – March 2023

Hostile was screened in India for the first time on Saturday, as part of the Habitat International Film Festival. 

The festival is held in Delhi every year and brings together films from across the world. This year, Hostile was included in a programme of 60 films from more than 20 different countries. 

Director Sonita Gale joined afterwards for a Q&A discussion, where she talked about the process of making the film as well as Hostile’s connections to India. 

Festival organiser Wasib got in touch afterward to say “The audience at Habitat found the documentary to be informative and engaging. People stayed back after the screening to interact with the filmmaker and the Q&A afterwards invited many keen questions into the film, the world it represented and the world it sought to create. Empathetic exchanges between the filmmaker and the audience on the effect of the pandemic on the shifts in our physical, cultural, social and economic space. We learnt that the film originated during the pandemic, and finally the interaction concluded with the call/shift towards humanity, being the need of the hour.”

Sonita was thrilled to be part of Habitat’s 2023 lineup. Her Indian heritage has always been central to her storytelling and the festival was a fantastic opportunity to bring the film to Indian audiences. 

Oxford Human Rights Festival – March 2023

Hostile returned to Oxford on Tuesday night, where it was shown at Oxford Brookes University as part of the Oxford Human Rights Festival.

The Oxford Human Rights Festival has been running for over 20 years and showcases performances, talks, films and exhibitions to ‘shed light on the importance of Human Rights.’ This year’s festival theme was ‘Now what?’ and Hostile was shown as part of a programme that included a guest lecture by Ukrainian architect Slava Balbek, and an evening of solidarity with women in Iran. 

The film was followed by a Q&A with Director Sonita Gale, hosted by Professor Jeremy MacClancy, who chairs Oxford Brookes University’s Migration and Refugees Research Network. 

The group compared the activist landscape in the UK with countries further afield and shared updates on where the film’s participants are now. 

Festival organiser, Jacqueline Kearney said “The film was absolutely heart wrenching. Providing an overview of the many interlocking forces working against refugee and migrant communities in the UK, it produced a profound and suffocating frustration, however the interspersal of examples of community led efforts provided a glimmer of hope. One of these examples, a community kitchen in Brent, London hit particularly close to home as that is where I grew up, and I felt like I was watching my neighbours struggle through the multiple crises of the pandemic and the inhumane hostile environment policies.”

Sonita was honoured to be a part of this year’s programme and hopes to participate in some form next year.

Solent University – March 2023

Students at Solent University in Southampton rounded off their week with a screening of Hostile followed by a Q&A with Director Sonita Gale.

The session was for Sociology students, who used the conversation afterwards to tie some of the film’s messages to wider issues they have been studying as part of their course. Discussion points included how far a change in government could help to combat the ‘hostile environment’ and the role of the climate crisis in creating refugees, and the hostile receptions that they receive.

Following the screening, Dr Garfield Benjamin, Senior Lecturer in Sociology shared their thoughts on Hostile “ From the points-based system that places values on human beings to the media language that justifies laws filled with hate, it demonstrates the racist and colonial narratives that continue to define this government’s heartless approach to human suffering. Hostile is essential viewing for understanding the far-reaching harms of the UK’s hostile environment and what that means for people and policy.”

Joanne Cridland, Communities Engagement Officer, added “We were really proud to be able to show your documentary as part of our Inaugural Solent Sanctuary Week which provided students and staff with opportunities to come together, learn and develop their understanding around terminology associated with communities seeking sanctuary and tackle a range of topics related with Sanctuary in the UK.”

Hostile will be screening in more universities over the coming weeks, in a continuation of its Impact campaign that is focused on sparking conversations and bringing about positive change. 

Thank you to everybody who came. 

Nottingham Trent University – March 2023

Hostile played at Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday evening.

The private screening was organised for students at Nottingham Law School and was followed by a Q&A with Director Sonita Gale. 

Audience members expressed their surprise at the ubiquity of the ‘hostile environment’, and in a moving moment, an international student shared his experiences navigating life here. 

Senior Lecturer and co-organiser, Dr Ruth Brittle, said “Those who attended really benefited from hearing from you and your motivation for making the film.  You’re such an inspiration to the students, especially those who want to go into immigration and asylum law after graduation.”

Associate Professor Dr Helen O’Nions added “Hostile is a film that demands to be seen. We finally hear the voices of those silenced by an oppressive system based on hostility and racism that continues to deny so many a chance to be seen and heard.” 

Some of the students who attended also shared their thoughts, saying:

“It was an influential documentary and as a refugee I really felt that we were heard by some people, so thank you.”

“The film was absolutely shocking and eye opening!! Despite studying immigration and asylum law it is very different to learn from personal experiences and actual families that were affected by the policy.” 

This week, waves of strike action from many sectors are breaking across the country, as people everywhere struggle to make ends meet. It is vital that we support each other. 

Thank you to the organisers and to everybody who came. 

University of Manchester – March 2023

Hostile went to the University of Manchester on Monday, March 13th for a screening in the Students’ Union followed by a virtual Q&A with Director Sonita Gale. 

The evening was organised by Maisy Vincent, an undergraduate student at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. The HCRI is a leading global centre exploring humanitarianism, international disaster management and conflict response. 

Following the film, she and Sonita fielded questions from the audience on a variety of topics. Particularly important was a discussion on accountability in the university sphere. The ‘hostile environment’ continues to impact those in higher education, and it is vital that these conversations take place. 

After the screening, Maisy Vincent said:

 “Attendees braved snow and hail to come together for a meaningful discussion about the impact of the hostile environment on migrants in this country.  We were lucky to be joined by Sonita herself for a virtual Q&A. Thoughtful questions were posed about her journey as a filmmaker and the themes of the documentary.”

Some students also got in touch with their thoughts on the film:  

“Hostile was an incredibly powerful watch, and Sonita did an amazing job capturing the difficult emotional truth of each person’s situation, and the government’s failings.”

“The film made me sob. It was a worthwhile watch and I’m so glad HCRI put on the event and Sonita was able to join and share more about the documentary.“

Thanks to Maisy Vincent and everybody else from the University of Manchester who helped to organise this event.

Leicester De Montfort University – March 2023

Hostile screened in Leicester on Wednesday, 8th March, to forty eight law students at Leicester De Montfort University. 

Director Sonita Gale remoted in the following day for a virtual Q&A with the students, hosted by Dr Alwyn Jones, Associate Professor and part of the Human Rights Research Group.  

There were some brilliant questions from students and the discussion focused on the inaccessibility of the Home Office, the separation of so-called ‘good migrants’ and ‘bad migrants’, and how we can scale the efforts of local grassroots organisations to be effective on a national level. 

Following the screening, a student got in touch with Dr Jones to share some reflections they had:

“As a society, we are geared towards accolades, success and material possessions but rarely see the value of love and compassion. We talk about life being a gift, but in reality, we treat each other as commodities.”

Dr Jones himself added that “Hostile is a powerful and insightful film, showing the severe harm caused by the hostile environment to migrant communities. This is essential viewing for everyone concerned about people who are forced into destitution and an anxious, precarious existence. Hostile is an inspirational call for empathy, building community and the hard work that is urgently needed to achieve change.”

This was the second of two university screenings of Hostile last week. While headlines can be disheartening, the law students in attendance asked such insightful and important questions. 

Earlier in the week, the High Court ruled NRPF ‘unlawful’ for a fifth time, in a case raised by Solicitor Adam Hundt. Lawyers have a lot to contribute to the sphere of refugee and migrant rights, and Hostile hopes to screen with more law schools over the course of the Impact tour. 

Thank you to everyone who came, and to Dr Alwyn Jones for his help in making this screening happen. 

University of Nottingham – March 2023

Hostile screened in Nottingham on Tuesday, 7th March, at an event organised in partnership with the University of Nottingham. 

100 students and staff flocked to the Djanogly Theatre at the Lakeside Arts Centre on the university campus to watch Hostile. 

It was followed by a Q&A afterwards with Director Sonita Gale and hosted by Royal Holloway lecturer, Michael Bankole. They discussed her reasons for making the film, the current political stance on immigration and more. 

Following the screening, Dr Neema Begum, Assistant Professor in British Politics at the university, had this to say:

“We were glad to have a big turnout for the screening of Hostile which is a powerful and important documentary on the Hostile Environment, the Windrush Scandal and global inequalities that were worsened by the pandemic. Hostile exposes how different groups of people have had the rules changed around them and their lives thrown into chaos and uncertainty due to the hostile environment, whether it’s the Windrush generation, international students during the pandemic or migrants who don’t meet newly set thresholds under the post-Brexit points-based immigration system.”

Hostile continues to visit universities as part of its Impact tour, and it is incredibly heartening to see so many engaged and passionate young people. As evidenced by the headlines about the Illegal Migration Bill this week, the ‘hostile environment’ is still with us. While we haven’t moved on yet, the contributions of young people will be vital in challenging it. 

Refugee Council – March 2023

On Wednesday, 1st March, Hostile screened at an event organised by the Refugee Council. Attendees descended on the BFI in Stephen Street for a private screening followed by a Q&A and a drinks reception.

The Refugee Council is a charity working with refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. Each year, they work with over 13,000 women, men and children who have had to flee dangerous situations, to support them as they rebuild their lives in the UK. 

The evening’s guest list was made up of people and organisations that have been particularly supportive of the Refugee Council’s work, including PWC, Emirates Bank, Starbucks, and DLA Piper.

Eminent journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig hosted the Q&A, where Sonita sat on the panel alongside CEO of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon. 

Following the screening, Enver Solomon had this to say:

“Refugee Council were honoured to co-host a screening of ‘Hostile’ with Galeforce films. This documentary tells searing truths and engages hearts and minds. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to support those stuck in the immigration system, and to champion protection and asylum rights. 

Refugee Council stands with those affected by these issues. We’re grateful to Sonita Gale for telling these vital stories, for her dedicated work, and for speaking truth to power.” 

Q&A chair, Robin Lustig added “Hostile is an immensely powerful and timely film, featuring the voices and heartbreaking stories of those who bear the brunt of successive governments’ brutal treatment of people who come to the UK hoping for a better life. I just wish every MP, from all parties, could be made to watch it.”

Hostile is on a screening tour around the UK as part of its Impact campaign, raising awareness about those suffering under the ‘hostile environment.’

Keele University – February 2023

On Thursday, 9th February, Hostile screened at Keele University to undergraduate Criminology students. 

After the screening, Dr Clare Griffiths hosted a Q&A session, where her students could ask their own questions.

Dr Griffiths, who helped to organise the screening, passed around reflection cards, and an audience member had this to say:

“I thought the film shed light on many of the community responses which went largely unreported in favour of national ‘efforts’ during the pandemic. I found it reassuring to have many of my sentiments which are rarely echoed in mainstream news explored. The Community Response Kitchen summed it up well with their certificate being useless and purely performative.”

Dr Griffiths herself added that “the students were so enthused afterwards. I left them in intense discussion with each other!”

The screening was one in a series of university visits being organised as part of Hostile’s Impact campaign, which has been expanding into educational settings. 

Settle, North Yorkshire – January 2023

On Tuesday, January 17th, Hostile screened at the Victoria Hall in Settle, North Yorkshire in collaboration with the Craven Refugee Support Network. 

The Craven Refugee Support Network is a group of organisations operating in the Craven area to support refugees and asylum seekers. 

The film was made available to the public and tickets were offered free of charge so that everyone who wanted to come was able to. 

Following the event, Angie Pedley who helped to organise the screening passed around reflection cards, and audience members had this to say:

  • “I liked the way the stories of the food kitchen & the guy having to apply for leave to remain were woven in”.
  • “I thought the explanation of No Recourse to Public Funds was good as not everyone understands about that. Also the huge costs involved in making applications”.
  • “Some of the old film made me very uncomfortable – I remember the Enoch Powell speech which I protested against at the time, & it made me feel awful seeing it again in this context.”

This was a particularly important opportunity for the public to engage in the stories told in Hostile and to think about how they can engage in collective healing in response to the ‘hostile environment.’

Thank you to everyone who came – particularly those who had to battle the snow on their way home. 

Jesus College, Cambridge – November 2022

On Tuesday 29th November Hostile screened at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

It marked the final screening this year in a series of talks hosted by the Intellectual Forum at the college, that in the past has included discussions with luminaries among the likes of Jimmy Choo, Helen Clark, Peter Frankopan, Lori Adelman, and Mary Beard. 

This screening was followed by a Q&A with director Sonita Gale and the director of the Intellectual Forum, Julian Huppert. 

The Intellectual Forum was formed in 2016, with a focus on bringing people together in person or virtually to discuss important topics of the time.

Following the event, Julian said “Hostile is an amazing film, capturing so many aspects of the awful ways migrants have been treated by the UK for so many decades. Definitely worth watching – and more importantly, acting to make sure this never happens again.”

Cllr Dr Hannah Charlotte Copley, Green Party Councillor, Abbey Ward, Cambridge City Council who attended the screening, added: “Hostile is a powerful and damning account of the racist way that migrants are treated in the UK, and how the denial of a safety net via the “No Recourse To Public Funds” policy has widespread devastating impact to the most vulnerable in our society. It is a call to action to us all to build an alternative and compassionate society and enact positive change.”

This was the final screening of the Impact Tour this year, and we want to thank all of the universities, legal institutions and community organisations that have given Hostile a platform to be used as a tool to educate people about our immigration policies and inspire change.

University of Aberdeen, Scotland – November 2022

On Tuesday 22nd November Hostile screened at the University of Aberdeen.

After the screening an online Q&A took place with director Sonita Gale, hosted by Robert W. Heimburger. Robert W. Heimburger is a Research Fellow in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen who has a special interest in migration issues. 

The screening was a continuation of our impact campaign which raises awareness about the issues in the film in educational settings, and looks to see how Hostile can be a part of the curriculum in some courses. Specifically, we are focused on raising awareness of and pushing for reform to the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy. 

Ahead of the screening, he provided the students with study pack titled “Film as a Public Ethical Arena”, which included ethical questions that the film raises for the audience to consider, as well as some important books, including Robert’s ‘Illegal Alien’, and books from Maya Goodfellow and Gargi Bhattacharyya who both were interviewed for the documentary.

The Q&A session was with students from a range of courses with varied backgrounds. We discussed elusive questions such as what it means to be British. One student talked about their experiences of Brexit and how difficult it was to get settled status whilst her friends who studied and worked here had to leave due to visa issues. Another student brought up the injustice of migrants paying UK taxes yet still being subject to hostile policies. The conversation then moved on to questions about how we get people to listen, and one student asked me my views about civil disobedience and protesting.

Following the event, Robert said: “Sonita Gale’s riveting film Hostile enabled my students in film and ethics to understand better the injustices of UK immigration processes through the stories of the individuals and families told. They came out with more critical awareness, ready to act so that immigration policy is reformed and newcomers to the United Kingdom are treated more humanely.”

This campaign is supported by Ben and Jerry’s. So far we have done 10 screenings with another 20 plus planned for the new year.

Streatham Library, Lambeth – November 2022

On Thursday 17th November, Hostile screened at Streatham Library at an event organised by Lambeth Council.

Lambeth is a Borough of Sanctuary, and the setting for the event was close to many areas in Brixton where we filmed, such as Windrush Square and Lambeth Council.

The film was followed by a Q&A with director Sonita Gale and hosted by Cllr Sonia Winifred, who also features in the film. Cllr Winifred is a Labour Councillor for Knight Hill ward in Lambeth who until recently was Cabinet member for Equalities and Culture. Sonia has also been a vocal campaigner for the Windrush generation, and when people shone a light on Britain’s legacy of slavery, established the Lambeth Council review of statues, monuments, and street names with a connection to Slavery. She has worked tirelessly for the rights and protections of all refugees and migrants in the borough.

Sonita and Sonia discussed how Hostility has been a permanent feature in British society dehumanising black and brown people to the point of evidential systemic racism. They talked about Brexit and what it means to have an Asian leader, and whether that will mean more empathy for those subject to racist hostile policies.

Following the event, Sonia said Hostile “brings into focus the difficulties, trauma  faced by migrants in Britain today. A strong thought provoking film  of a reality which should never be ignored!” And Vincia Bennett, who helped to organise the event, said “Hostile is a timely reminder that we are all migrants, and their stories could be ours. A must see for everyone”

The screening was a continuation of an impact campaign which raises awareness about the issues in the film in community settings, and looks to see how Hostile can be a part of the conversation about how communities can support their migrant population.

University of Leicester, Leicester – November 2022

On Wednesday 16th November, Hostile screened at the University of Leicester. The event included a remote Q&A with director Sonita Gale, which was hosted by Alan Desmond.

Sonita and Alan discussed the various aspects of the Hostile Environment, including the treaties that have been conceived to create more hostile policies, how Sonita came to define the story and the process of finding the contributors that feature in the film.

One of the audience members pointed out the striking fact that people who work in the Home Office suffer from PTSD, resulting from the work they engage in.

Alan Desmond is a lecturer in law and editor of the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law. He is also Chair of Leicester City of Sanctuary’s New Evidence Search Team (NEST) which is a group of volunteer caseworkers who help refused asylum seekers to identify and locate new evidence to make a fresh claim for asylum.

Following the event, Alan said: “Hostile is an important and sometimes harrowing documentary that succeeds all too well in putting a human face on what for many people in the UK is an abstract concept: the UK’s hostile environment and the damage it is doing to different sections of British society from undocumented immigrants to ethnic minority British citizens. It should be compulsory viewing for Home Office caseworkers and members of both Houses of Parliament.”

The screening was a continuation of an impact campaign which raises awareness about the issues in the film in educational settings, and looks to see how Hostile can be a part of the curriculum in some courses.

Jubilee Library, Brighton & Hove – November 2022

On Sunday 13th November, Hostile screened at the Jubilee Library in Brighton & Hove. The Jubilee library is the largest public library serving Brighton and Hove and one of the busiest in the country. 

Brighton & Hove has always been at the forefront of the conversation on migrants rights. They are a ‘Sanctuary on Sea’, the local City of Sanctuary group, that fosters a welcoming culture.

The event was organised by the Brighton & Hove Library Services team that work for the council, and featured a Q&A with hosts Luqman Temitayo Onikosi from the University of Brighton, activist Sara Alsherif and director Sonita Gale.

They discussed the expansion of the Hostile Environment over the past several decades, and the solutions that are available to us in order to get a more reasonable and thoughtful immigration policy. These include how immigration deals with other countries should consider how to treat migrants in a fair and humane way that does not contravene international law.

Following the event, the organisers said: It’s an incredibly moving film that feels so relevant in these times. Everyone should see this film – it should be included in the school curriculum! Thank you to Sonita for sharing her insight at the lively question and answer session that followed. We’re proud to be a Library of Sanctuary, welcoming refugees and people seeking sanctuary and this event enabled us to continue our work with the local community in Brighton.

The screening is part of our Impact Campaign tour which started in September and goes on until July 2023.

Rethink Rebuild Society, Manchester – November 2022

On Wednesday 9th November Hostile screened at the Rethink Rebuild Society in Manchester, at an event organised in collaboration with the Migrant Destitution Fund.

The screening included a Q&A hosted by Rethink Rebuild Society volunteer Dr Mustafa Alachkar and Hostile director Sonita Gale.

The Rethink Rebuild Society is a Manchester-based charity that began informally after the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011. It works towards improving the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, in particular but not exclusively Syrians in the UK, helping them become positively established within British society.

Meanwhile the Migrant Destitution Fund supports destitute migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). This is a Hostile Environment policy, which leaves people unable to access mainstream benefits and housing assistance.

Following the event, William Wheeler of the Migrant Destitution Fund, has this to say about the evening: “People were very touched by the film and the discussion afterwards. It felt that the screening achieved its goal in reaching communities affected by hostile immigration policies – including quite a few asylum seekers being housed in what amount to semi-detention conditions in a hotel in Manchester… A lot of people felt that it was very positive that their experiences are being heard, and are keen that the film should be seen by policymakers.”

Members of the audience also shared their thoughts on the film:

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the organisers for putting up together these true life stories of migrants. I was impacted by the stories as a migrant woman who has gone through the same situation.

“I felt so sad and angry watching the whole film but I was encouraged by the  turn out of the British people in the room which gave me the hope that the message will reach out there. What people should realise is that this is a real story and the film highlighted all the mistreatment and unfair system migrants are going through in modern Britain, I always say that you should put humanity  above all things . We are human beings seeking protection.” – Eunice Manu, Women Asylum Seekers Together

“The film Hostile is a perfect summary of the environment in the hotel at the moment. As asylum seekers we face the hostile environment on a daily basis. The laws in place for asylum seekers enhance the hostility we face. This is not helped by the bureaucracy that is put in place. Law makers and policy makers needs to see this film.” – NK

“I think it was a great work, that they made this film. They tried to make an idea about asylum seekers and the people here who are suffering for a long time while they wait for a decision. (The guy in the film), he is trying to be in British Society, his children are studying and being part of the society. It will not affect the government to give them papers to stay here – they will be useful for this land. People are trying to assist others but they can’t do anything, they need help from foundations, government, for money to help them. 

“Before we came to the UK I thought this was a country of freedom and humanity and rights.But it’s not like that in the UK. The long decision making is a big problem. We are suffering from being in the hotel for a long time. We have been in the hotel for 10 months now, for some, more than a year. It’s a big problem. We spend one night outside the hotel with family, they threaten to throw us out. My own mother is sick, she needs me to be beside her.” – Anonymous

The screening was part of our Impact Campaign tour which started in September and goes on until July next year, with seven screenings so far.

Take One Action Film Festival, Inverness – October 2022

On Saturday, October 29th, Hostile screened at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, as part of the Take One Film Festival.

The Take One Film Festival is an Edinburgh-based, independent charity founded by film lovers, cultural activists and globally-concerned citizens who believe that shared cinematic experience can catalyse lasting change.

The film was made available to the public and tickets were offered on a sliding scale basis so everyone who wanted to come could do so regardless of their ability to pay.

Following the event, Daisy Crooke who helped to organise the screening passed around reflection cards, and audience members had this to say:

“Powerful, shocking – also strangely positive… in showing people who keep going (and keep doing good) despite everything. Seeing the impact of this outrageous system on individual lives makes the message much stronger.” 

“I was moved by the human approach to a human issue. So moving to fight with hope not hate. Thank you for sharing this film.”

This was the final impact screening in Scotland in partnership with the Take One Action Film Festival, which took place between September and October.

SOAS, London – October 2022

On Thursday, October 27th Hostile screened SOAS university, which was the latest screening to be part of our impact campaign tour which brings the film to educational settings, law firms and community centres.

The event was hosted by the SOAS British Red Cross on Campus, which is a student-led society promoting British Red Cross values and activities at the university. The society has a wide remit including refugee advocacy, emergency response, first aid, mental health awareness, anti-discrimination and more. 

During the Q&A, director Sonita Gale had an engaging conversation with SOAS BRC President Anouk Pelletier discussing the goals she had with Hostile, how the UK’s policies have changed in the past year since the film was released, and what it meant for the participants in the film to share their stories.

Given the makeup of the student body at SOAS, they also discussed what international students could do when they returned home to face governments that have hostile environments of their own, which led to a discussion about what student activism looks like. 

Following the screening, Anouk Pelletier said: “Students got to learn more about the human cost of the Hostile environment in the UK and share their thoughts. Beyond being a cause they support, fighting against the hostile policies is also personal to most of the students present yesterday. “Hostile” and the discussion we had with Sonita renewed the audience’s motivation to get involved and advocate for migrant and refugee rights.”

Other organisers added:

“Unlike many others who are well-versed in the discrepancies in immigration policies. I am of the firm belief that this documentary should be screened to audiences of various backgrounds to encourage discourse on the hostile conditions immigrants face daily so that we do not see the same policies befalling generations today which affected their parents” – Damayanti Bose

“Hostile is eye-opening, everyone should watch it” – Zosia Majcherek

Our impact tour continues to bring the film to education settings across the country.

For future screenings visit our website: https://www.hostiledocumentary.com/tickets

And if you are interested in screening Hostile at your school or university, please get in touch at: info@galeforcefilms.co.uk

Derby Peace Week, Derby – October 2022

On Monday, October 24th, Hostile screened at Derby Peace Week – an annual gathering that promotes peace and social justice involving local groups and civic organisations.

It was the 5th edition of the event, and following the screening, festival organiser Imtiaz Choonara has this to say about the evening:

“Good to show the film Hostile in Derby. The film highlighted how both Conservative and Labour Governments have introduced legislation making migrants 2nd class citizens. It also highlighted the way ordinary people can try and make the UK a better place.”

And host Sue Arguile – Convenor for Derby Stand up to Racism – said:

“I am so glad that we were able to show the film ‘Hostile’ at Derby Quad. The film has devastating impact and the Q&A session with Sonita afterwards threw up some interesting points. This film will make you angry and hopefully want to take action to create a more positive narrative around migration. Everyone should see this film.

This year the focus of Derby Peace Week was on racism in our institutions, and it was an opportunity to discuss how racism in our politics and media results in harmful immigration policies, the likes of which we see in the hostile environment today.

Royal College of Arts, London – October 2022

On Tuesday, October 11th, Hostile screened at the Royal College of Art as a part of the education screenings of our impact tour.

The event included a conversation between myself and fellow-filmmaker Savyna Indranee Darby, RCA student and founder and CEO of The White Lotus Picture Company.

During the conversation after the screening, Savyna and I talked about the process of making the film, the way universities have been represented in the documentary when it comes to the hostile environment, and the link between children who are migrants today and the Windrush generation.

The RCA is a wonderful institution. Not only is it one of the world’s leading Art and Design Universities, which caters to students from over 60 countries, but it also offers a range of scholarships that are open to students with refugee and asylum seeker status. These scholarships cover the full cost of study at the RCA; some scholarships also offer support towards living expenses. 

Following the screening Savyna had this to say about the event: “​​Hostile is a powerful reminder that Immigration comes in all forms and affects everyone who lives in a society. The film is a reminder of a system that is not straightforward and is devoid of compassion. It sheds a light on the darkness that engulfs us all, regardless of colour, creed and class denomination.[It] is powerful too in its strong message of hope that lies in the solidarity within multi-ethnic communities that extend more than a helping hand, but act as a balm to those stuck in the web of a poisonous system.”

Our impact tour continues to bring the film to education settings across the country.

For future screenings visit our website: https://www.hostiledocumentary.com/tickets

And if you are interested in screening Hostile at your school or university, please get in touch at: info@galeforcefilms.co.uk

Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow – September 2022

On Saturday, September 24th, Hostile had its second screening at the Take One Film Festival.

This screening took place at the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts. It was another full screening with lots of people in the audience with a lived experience of the asylum system, which made for some really powerful reflections afterwards

Once again tickets were offered on a sliding scale basis so everyone who wanted to come could do so regardless of their ability to pay.

Daisy Crooke who helped to organise the screening passed around reflection cards, and audience members had this to say:

“Such a powerful and moving film – thank you so much. Wish it could be seen by more people. Discussion was amazing and empowering, too.” 

“It was very moving and well put together” 

“I could connect with the characters so much that I felt how difficult it is just to survive as a refugee / immigrant. Much power to all.”

“It’s extremely important for people to see the harsh realities of the lives of marginalised communities and I’m grateful that TOA made it so inclusive for everyone to join.”

“As an immigrant, I guess it made me more aware of what I’m up against, but the follow-up discussion also touched on what help is available. It was perfect – thank you!”

The final two impact screenings with Take One Action in Scotland will take place in October.

Primrose Hill Community Association, London – September 2022

On Tuesday, September 20th, Hostile screened for local residents at the Primrose Hill Community Association in London. It was shown as part of a regular slot reserved for discussions on global issues and the environment.

The screening took place in front of a mixed audience of different ages and diverse backgrounds, including students. Those who attended also spoke of their direct experiences as migrants. The Q&A was hosted by writer and campaigner Andrew Feinstein.

The Primrose Hill Community Association (PHCA) was formed in 1978, taking control of the Community Centre in Hopkinson’s Place from 1980. They run events, activities, classes and workshops, and rely entirely on locally raised funding through activities, events and bookings and the support they receive from volunteers, local businesses and individuals.

Tim Kirkpatrick, who helped to organise the event, had this to say:

‘‘Hostile’ is an intense and disturbing review of some of the injustices meted out to migrant populations by government policies in the UK in recent and longer term history. It is both moving and informative, bringing a human face to the issue by showing the cost to individuals and their families and communities. At the same time, it shows how community involvement and mass action by impassioned individuals has brought change in the past, and can do so in the future, and in this context it is an uplifting and inspiring view. The screening was followed by an engaging Q&A, where we heard more about the background to the film and its personal origins, as well as audience discussion of the underlying racial prejudice and financial motivations that drive policy and its execution’.

This screening was the first to benefit from Hostile’s Impact Screening tour funded by the UK arm of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. And all proceeds from suggested donations went back to the community centre.

Take One Action Film Festival, Edinburgh – September 2022

On Sunday, September 19th, Hostile screened at the Take One Film Festival as part of its 2022 Festival lineup.

The Take One Film Festival is an Edinburgh-based, independent charity founded by film lovers, cultural activists and globally-concerned citizens who believe that shared cinematic experience can catalyse lasting change.

The film was made available to the public and tickets were offered on a sliding scale basis so everyone who wanted to come could do so regardless of their ability to pay.

Following the event, Daisy Crooke who helped to organise the screening passed around reflection cards, and audience members had this to say:

“Very moving and thought-provoking film. As someone who is new to the country this film gave me a lot of important context and was put together in a very powerful way. As both a person of colour and a policy professional (and descendant of immigrants to Canada) this film gave me a lot to think about.”

“I felt really emotional watching this film and I think it’s quite easy to feel exhausted and just so angry, but hopefully that emotion can be channelled into action – there’s so much to do.”

“Very moving – I never knew so much of this. So glad I came along.”

“Thanks for sharing this really important film. Thanks also for providing such a supportive and thoughtful space for sharings and reflections.”

This was a particularly important opportunity for the public to engage in the stories told in Hostile and to think about how they can engage in collective healing in response to the Hostile Environment.

This is the first of four impact screenings across Scotland partnering with Take One Action between September and October.

Westminster University, London – September 2022

On Thursday, September 8th, Hostile screened to an audience of students at Westminster University. 

Sonita was joined in a post-screening discussion with Saskia Huc-Hepher from the French Studies department at the University of Westminster, whose research focuses on questions of identity, belonging and homemaking among London’s French diaspora in on-land and on-line contexts.

The film was well received by the students in attendance, and the Q&A turned into a lively debate about class, race, diversity, politics and politicians from diverse background who enact racist legislation. 

The topics centered around Sonita’s reasons for making the film, the reasons for choosing the film’s title and the complicity of universities in the hostile environment. 

Sonita also discussed her role in campaigning and activism, while the students asked questions relating to the previous Home Secretary, classism and her plans for making films in the future.

Following the event, Saskia said: Despite coinciding with heavy rain and the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II, the screening of Hostile at the University of Westminster managed to pull a large crowd of students, members of the public and Migration academics from Italy, Spain and Tunisia. Questions from the audience bore witness to the affective potency of the film, its transnational reach and timeliness. This is a documentary on a pressing issue affecting a diverse range of people whose everyday struggles and positive contributions are usually kept out of the public gaze. It’s a film that needs to be seen as widely as possible.”

The event was part of the London Summer School sponsored by the Erasmus Plus Project “MIGRANTS”

WOMAD Festival, Wiltshire – July 2022

On Saturday, July 30th, Hostile screened at the WOMAD festival. 

WOMAD’s goal is to celebrate the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance. As a result, the film was received by a diverse and inclusive crowd that was keen to discuss how they could screen the film in their local communities. 

The special event was introduced by Kate Hutchinson and Nitin Sawhney who introduced the film with director Sonita Gale in the run up to the screening.

Illustrator James Nunn hosted the fascinating discussion that took place afterwards. James and Sonita were able to discuss the impact of the Hostile Environment on contemporary legislation, and the importance of educating the public about the history of these policies and how they work.

Hostile was part of a line up that included a diverse group of artists, coming from Mali to Ukraine, Afghanistan to Taiwan, and far beyond.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich – June 2022

On June 25th Hostile screened at the National Maritime Museum as part of the Royal Museum of Greenwich’s weeklong celebration during Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. 

The film screened at the Voyager’s Gallery and was free to the public. The theme of Refugee Week this year is ‘healing’ and the National Maritime Museum incorporated the screening of Hostile in their exploration of this theme. The need for healing is evident throughout Hostile, as the film seeks to demonstrate how damaging living in a hostile environment can be for migrants in the UK.

Following the event, Charlotte Paddock from Royal Museums Greenwich who helped to organise the screening had this to say:

“It was a privilege to be able to screen a Hostile, a deeply powerful, moving and necessary documentary that speaks to the impact of Britain’s maritime history.”

This was a particularly important opportunity for the public to engage in the stories told in Hostile and to think about how they can engage in collective healing in response to the Hostile Environment.

Glastonbury Festival, Somerset – June 2022

On June 24th, Hostile screened to an intimate audience at the Glastonbury Festival, marking one of the highlights of the film’s Refugee Week screenings.

Cineramageddon hosted a day of films which were around the topic of the hostile environment.

The film was followed by a panel discussion hosted by film critic Mark Kermode, with writer/director Sonita Gale and the former executive director of Greenpeace John Sauven.

They discussed topics such as the hostile environment and the different forms it takes, including environmental and ecological ones. And they discussed issues raised in Hostile, such as the No Recourse to Public Funds policy and its impact.

The panel also looked to the future, talking about social mobilisation, and the positive trend we are seeing as grassroots organisations & political parties come together to collectively fight against the hostile environment .

Reading Biscuit Factory, Reading – June 2022

On June 23rd, Hostile screened at the Reading Biscuit factory as it continued its run of Refugee Week screenings.

The film was followed by a panel led by Nick Harborne, CEO at Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG).

Following the event, the RRSG’s Jonjo Warrick, who helped to organise the event, had this to say about the film:

‘Hostile is an incredibly potent documentary that couldn’t be more relevant right now. The film deeply affected everyone in the audience and led to a very passionate and inspiring discussion.’

Another Europe Is Possible – June 2022

On June 12th, Another Europe is Possible hosted a virtual screening of Hostile for its members, which was followed by an online discussion about the film on June 16th with Zoe Gardner, Policy & Advocacy Manager at Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. The event was hosted by Alena Ivanova.

Another Europe is Possible is a civil society organisation based in the United Kingdom which was founded in February 2016 to campaign for the ‘Remain’ option during the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, while also advocating for internal reform of the EU. They now campaign to build a Europe that has social and environmental justice at its heart, and which is a welcome place for migrants.

The discussion revolved around director Sonita Gale’s connection to the story as a filmmaker, why this film is so important right now, the impact it is having and the outcomes it has created. Following the screening, the organisation had this to say about the event:

Another Europe is proud to have provided our members with the chance to watch this important documentary. No amount of campaign materials could compare with the power of real stories told by real people who are our friends, neighbours and loved ones, and who continue to suffer the cruelties of the UK immigration system. 

The film does a brilliant job of boiling down complex policies into fundamental narratives about care, compassion and what makes us human. Our members learned more about the system but more importantly reflected on its damaging presence all around us. The Q&A with Sonita was a wonderful opportunity to build a narrative of hope and resistance around the stories of the film and motivated us, our supporters and members to be ever more vocal in our fight against the hostile environment. We thank Sonita and her team for bringing her art to us.

Covington, City of London – June 2022

On Thursday 9th June, Hostile kick-started its tour of law firms across the country with a screening and Q&A at the London office of Covington & Burling LLP, a global law firm with a strong commitment to pro bono and public service. The film screening was hosted by Covington partner, Brandon Thompson, in partnership with NOTICED, the inter-firm diversity network, with a great attendance by lawyers and professionals from across the firm and the network. The Q&A was led by Sonita Gale, the film’s director and producer, with supporting commentary from Charlotte Fisher, the film’s executive producer, and Annie Cooper, the national coordinator of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) UK, a charity that Covington supports with pro bono work, protecting undocumented children in the UK.

“We are proud to have partnered with Hostile to screen this film. Given the current controversy surrounding the UK Government’s Rwanda deportations policy, this is a timely and important film which helps raise public awareness of policies and practices implemented by the UK Government designed to create what the government itself has termed a “hostile environment”. The film’s unflinching narrative has helped open space for an important public discussion about how to handle sensitive issues such as immigration policies. Since hosting the screening, we have had a high level of interest from people wanting to support the firm’s work with KIND UK, to help children negatively impacted by these types of government policies and practices. It was also a great opportunity to discuss what each of us can do to contribute to raising awareness of issues around race and immigration and help build on the dedication and commitment that has gone into the making of this film.” – Brandon Thompson, Partner, Covington.

Parliament, Westminster – June 2022

On 6th June, Hostile screened at Portcullis House in Westminster,  where the film was watched by MPs, policy influencers and organisations at Parliament. 

The event was sponsored by Kate Osamor, Labour MP for Edmonton,  and it was wonderful to see so much support for challenging the hostile environment.

The audience included  the likes of Lord Alf Dubs, the High Commissioner for Rwanda and Jeremy Corbyn MP, it was an all round incredible event.

Jeremy Corbyn MP powerfully stated that “people are not born racist” and this was an important takeaway in the face of continued delays in Windrush compensation and scandals of institutional racism, while MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi commented that the film “is an important step in highlighting the experiences of those most impacted by this Government’s callous hostile environment policy” and that the film “stimulated debate and furthered calls to end the hostile environment.”

Thank you to our incredible panelists, Sir Stephen Timms MP, Anthony Byran, and Natalie Barnes! And of course to our host Jasmine Dotiwala.

Following the screening, Sir Timms had this to say about the event:

The power of the film Hostile is in exposing the impact on ordinary people of Home Office Hostile Environment policies.  I am glad a screening has taken place in the House of Commons, and hope that future screenings will help make the impact of these damaging policies much better known.

Caz Hattam, co-founder of The Unity Project said:

I would recommend Hostile and discussions with the community behind it to anyone who wants to understand more about how our communities and neighbourhoods are impacted by – and resisting – current immigration policies, in particular ‘no recourse to public funds”

Raising awareness about these issues has always been a priority and we couldn’t agree more with these comments.

Lordship Hub, Tottenham, North London – May 2022

On 20th May, Hostile was screened at the Community building, Lordship Hub, in Tottenham, North London. 

“We were thrilled to have the director, Sonita Gale, in attendance to lead a discussion afterwards. It was well attended and everyone found the film to be both compassionate and informative and it stimulated a good and at times very personal discussion afterwards. One participant said, “The film was excellent, and the discussion after was also fascinating. Both my friend and I left feeling very connected to the community and inspired to fight the hostile environment.” Another said, ‘Thank you! We all thought the film was excellent and really moving. What a lovely, sensitive and intelligent filmmaker’”

Oxford University (Lincoln and Worcester Colleges) – May 2022

On 18th May Sonita Gale attended a screening and Q&A of Hostile at Lincoln College, Oxford University, in collaboration with Worcester College. The discussion revolved around how we can decolonise curriculums and deconstruct our understanding of British history. With over 40% of Lincoln students being from countries outside the UK/EU, the film held particular resonance, with further discussions about how the hostile environment affects students.

This event continues the educational tour with Hostile across the country, with the aim of engaging students to get involved with campaigning for positive change. 

“The documentary masterfully demonstrates that the hostile environment policies didn’t come out of nowhere, but are intimately linked to the legacy of Empire and the legislation of successive governments. This legacy is not a historical artefact but provides a foundation for contemporary policies which have devastating consequences in the here and now, on the lives of migrants and other marginalised groups. I look forward to being involved in discussions as to how Hostile can be added to the curriculum, and I know that students at Oxford will be keen to get involved in the impact campaign to create tangible change. I was inspired by Sonita’s final words during the Q&A to do whatever you can, small actions are meaningful.” Rea Duxbury, Learning Development Officer, Worcester College, University of Oxford

“It was wonderful to host Sonita Gale with a screening of her film Hostile. We had students, academics, and change-makers in the room and the conversation the film inspired helped to further unpick the realities for so many of the UK’s marginalised communities and what people in education can do to affect meaningful and sustained change. Events like this help to keep the conversation on the table. We are excited to see what comes of her meetings with Rishi Sunak (Lincoln College, 2001) and the forthcoming parliamentary visit!” Dr Joseph da Costa, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Oxford University

Anglia Ruskin University – March 2022

On 24th March Hostile screened at Anglia Ruskin University and had a positive response from the students that attended. The screening marked the beginning of Hostile’s nationwide educational tour.

“Everybody mentioned how powerful the film was. One of my master students is very keen to get involved in the discussion to incorporate the film into the curriculum”

Newham Council – March 2022

March 21st was the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The 2022 edition of the International Day focused on the theme “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM”This edition aimed to highlight the importance of strengthening meaningful and safe public participation and representation in all areas of decision-making to prevent and combat racial discrimination.

Newham Council hosted an event to mark the day with an exciting Q&A surrounding racism and the hostile environment hosted by Zita Holbourne, the award winning community & human rights campaigner and activist, followed by poetry and choir performances, alongside a special screening of the Hostile trailer. View the full recording of the event here.

Doctor’s Association UK – March 2022

On Overseas NHS Workers Day, DAUK hosted a special online screening of Hostile with over 100 attendees. DAUK is a non-profit organisation which advocates for the medical profession and the wider NHS. They are also impact partners with Hostile.

Until the authorities acknowledge the contributions of international healthcare workers in the NHS and establish measures to retain staff, the quality of care and patient safety will suffer – and that is going to hurt.” – Overseas NHS Workers Day organiser, Dr Pushpo Hossain

Toynbee Hall – February 2022

Toynbee Hall hosted a screening as part of an event called “We Wear Our Passports On Our Faces”. Director Sonita Gale was joined by speakers from migrants rights organisations including Migrants Organise (who are impact partners for Hostile) and South Asia Solidarity Group who shared their knowledge and experience of organising around the Nationality and Borders Bill, the impacts on communities and advice on how to mobilise.

“Attendees mentioned they were really moved and struck by the film Hostile and the narratives and journeys of the featured individuals. People mentioned that they were motivated to find out more about those affected in their own communities and how they could show solidarity and support them which they were able to do through speaking to the various organisations who spoke at the event.”