Hostile

Hostile is a feature-length documentary focusing on the UK’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities. The film focuses on the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ policies that target migrants.

Writer, Producer and Director: Sonita Gale

Executive Producers: Nitin Sawhney, Charlotte Fisher

For all these years, I have been giving, giving, giving. I haven’t claimed a single penny of government money. Now I’m thinking, did I waste 17 years of my life giving back to this country?

PARTICIPANT

The film

Hostile examines the UK’s ‘Hostile Environment’ — a term used by the government in 2012 to illustrate the atmosphere the government wanted to create for migrants in the country, with the intention of provoking migrants to leave the country of their own accord. With Brexit and the new points-based immigration system already taking effect, this is an incredibly timely film as we enter a new era of stricter immigration regulation.

The documentary narrative comprises of four strands which culminate in a rich and comprehensive exploration of the UK’s approach to immigration, The film explores the lives of international students, members of the Windrush generation and so called ‘highly-skilled migrants’ and community organisers.

The stakes are high. An NHS IT Engineer has spent tens of thousands of pounds on visa applications and is still waiting for settled status. A member of the Windrush generation, has not recovered from detainment due to a lack of paperwork, in what became to be known as the Windrush Scandal. International students, now destitute, face deportation, and community organisers are struggling to feed these vulnerable communities without government support.

We utilise archival footage to depict the history of the British Empire as well as charting the UK’s immigration policies over recent years to inform on how we arrived at the situation we’re in today.

Hearing stories directly from those who are deeply affected by these issues, we open the doors to show what the real-life effects are for those trying to navigate their everyday lives in a hostile environment.

What does it mean to be British? How does it feel to be told you don’t belong?

A series of sweeping changes in legislation suggest these are questions we may all want to consider. Starting with the 2021 New Points Based Immigration System, and continuing with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and Nationality and Borders Bill currently being debated, now is the time to take a look at the impact these policies have on our communities.

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