“Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time”

This film was shot on a mobile phone by Kurdish-Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani who remains on Manus Island. His collaboration with Netherlands-based Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani to produce this documentary feature is essential viewing for anyone to whom the issue of the treatment of refugees matters.

There is no embellishment, there is no spin (until the final vision … of someone without firsthand experience which was not shot on Manus Island). Throughout the film, we enter the daily lives of some of the people who have lived on Manus Island for years – asylum seekers and local people. We see and hear the experiences and thoughts of people on whom Australia’s policies have had impact. Real insights into real lives. Traumatic, mundane, disruptive, interminable, senseless and damaging.

If you are proud to be Australian or you want to be proud to be Australian, take any opportunity you can to attend a screening of ‘Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time’. If you are not Australian, this film is a warning about the results of policies of mandatory detention and offshore processing. As this Australian Parliamentary Library document states “there is no credible evidence that the threat of mandatory detention stops people from seeking refuge, but may instead be ineffective as a deterrent [source]” so any country proposing adopting such an approach must be aware of the genuine outcomes.

A second screening of the film hosted by Refugee Action Collective Queensland is to be held in Brisbane with others soon to be held in other locations. Do what you can to see this film and find out why the beloved Manusian bird, the “chauka, means very different things to the groups of residents currently on Manus Island. 


(Hosted by Refugee Action Collective Qld)

New Farm Cinemas, 701 Brunswick St, New Farm 
Monday 5th February, 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

Click here to book online



Australia’s first regional screening of this brave documentary.
(Hosted by the UKI Refugee Project)

Regent Cinema, 5 Brisbane Street, Murwillumbah
Sunday 4th March, 2:00pm

Click here to book online



There have already been two screenings at Dendy Cinemas in Sydney (Newtown and Opera Quays) hosted by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney.

So continue to check in with the @RACsydney Facebook Events page for future screenings or…


Anyone anywhere can go to the Chauka Please Tell Us the Time‘ Facebook page for screening information and other news related to the film. 

The film doesn’t have wide distribution so it’s currently being made available by proactive groups who contact the filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani.
So those who wish to find out the options for this can go to his production company’s contact page and take it from there.


Whether or not you have seen the film, the Q&A session below that was held in advance of the BFI London Film Festival Screening provides fascinating background on the film. Hosted by Christine Bardsley with filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani, it serves not only as informative in relation how “Chauka …” came to be made, but as an indictment on Australia’s policies when it becomes all too clear that the world beyond Australia views the country’s approach to asylum seekers very differently to that of the Australian government and their supporters.


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