A film by Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler
18 min., HD, AT 2017
In their fourth collaborative film Zanny Begg (Sydney) and Oliver Ressler (Vienna) focus on Nauru, a tiny remote island in the Pacific with 10,000 inhabitants. The title “Anubumin” is Nauruan for “night” and symbolises a certain darkness that surrounds the island.
The film combines a poetic narration written for the film with conversations carried out with whistleblowers in Australia. The narration discusses different voids that have shaped the islands past and future.
The largest void is a physical one, the island is a raised reef consisting of calcite and phosphate on a volcanic base, which since 1906 has been mined and exported to Australia, to fertilise the former colonisers’ farms. When phosphate extraction came to a stop in the 1980s, Nauru was bankrupt and 80 percent of the land area uninhabitable and infertile. In an attempt to generate income, in the 1990s Nauru became a prime money-laundering haven. After the disappearance of soil and money, today Nauru involves in the “disappearance of people” – housing one of Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.
In a reaction to the criticism on terrible human right situation in the detention centre, Nauru severely restricted access to the island. Four whistleblowers, who worked as doctors and nurses in the detention centre, describe the institutionalised human rights violations in the offshore detention. They uncover a truth the Australian government tries to cover through intimidating people into silence.
Today a new void threatens the island, rising sea-levels threaten the coastal edge, which is the only area left for its inhabitants to live. The people who warden the political and economic refugees of today may well become climate refugees of tomorrow. The night is always darkest before the dawn.
Whistleblowers: David Isaacs, Mark Isaacs, Anonymous, Alanna Maycock, Hasantha Gunasekera
Footage shot on Nauru by anonymous whistleblowers
Camera by William Robertson
Sound design by James Brown
Poem by Matthew Hyland & Oliver Ressler
Narrated by Renée Gadsden
Thanks to Gabby Sutherland
Audio recording poem, colour correction by Rudolf Gottsberger
Financial assistance provided by Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien