For decades, South Tel Aviv has been the first and last stop for all types of “second-class citizens” who cannot stand on their own and have been ignored by the government for far too long. Today, South Tel Aviv’s Israeli residents are living with over 15,000 African asylum seekers unable to care for themselves, and even worse, in fear for their safety. In the past year, violence between Africans and Israelis in South Tel Aviv and around the country has risen and many are afraid to walk the streets.
Deep in the heart of South Tel Aviv, seen through the eyes of Israeli residents and African asylum seekers, Exile No More documents what it means to live in exile, amongst your own. This 30-minute film follows the story of African asylum seekers in Israel. After traveling thousands of miles, many have found themselves without status, without jobs, and without homes in the most impoverished area of Tel Aviv. Exile No More shares the story of African asylum seekers such as Kidane Isaacs, a 24-year-old Eritrean who has lived in Israel for more than 6 years now, without any form of refugee status. The film follows his story as an African fleeing country after country, arriving in Israel, becoming a strong political leader, and inspiring his people to demand more. Just across the road, Shula Keshet, a veteran Israeli in South Tel Aviv is making impressive progress in her efforts to bring together conservative Israelis living with a completely new population in Israel: African refugees. These two story lines in Exile No More come together to represent an exiled people in their own community and the struggle for real change in their government. Filmed over the period of eight months, the characters in this film represent the key political leaders at a time when asylum seekers in Israel are facing a true crossroad.
Filmmaker Kady Buchanan has spent the last year and a half working on the film, and is currently in post-production readying the film for release. In asking what drew her to the film, she says it seemed like such an important topic, one that, because of Israel’s history as a nation of refugees, would only become more and more relevant. Buchanan filmed in the summer of 2012 when protests in South Tel Aviv were breaking out almost on a weekly basis. Buchanan also chose to follow both Israelis and Africans because she wanted to show how feeling exiled or excommunicated from your community is not only a feeling felt by non-citizens.
Buchanan had launched a Kickstarter in an effort to raise the final funds needed for the film’s release. With only six days left to go, they still have to fund $3,000. If all funds aren’t received by March 26th, they get nothing. To support the finishing of the funds by donating or sharing, visit the Kickstarter page here.