Those Who Feel the Fire Burning: A Refugee’s Perspective

June 22, 2015

Producer Katja Draaijer

By George Symonds

On Friday 19 June 2015, the Frontline Club held a screening of the genre-defying Those Who Feel the Fire Burning, an experimental film focusing on the experiences of those who risk their lives in order to reach the shores of Europe. The audience was joined by co-producer Katja Draaijer for a discussion following the screening.

Producer Katja Draaijer

Producer Katja Draaijer

On the film’s experimental narrative structure, Draaijer said: “It was always clear from the beginning that he [director Morgan Knibbe] wanted to tell the story from the perspective of a ghost. That’s why he used style elements from fiction films.”

“On the news we see all the numbers,” said Draaijer, “but he didn’t want to portray them [the refugees] as victims, but for we as an audience to experience what it is to be a refugee. That’s why he wanted to tell it from the perspective of a refugee himself.”

Asked by an audience member about the myriad languages spoken the film’s protagonists, Draaijer explained:
“Most of the time he [Knibbe] didn’t understand what was said. For the Arabic we had an Arabic translator… What he was really doing was intuitive, just really following them around. He didn’t care, really, about what they were saying. He just wanted to show the people what they do. How they cook, how they live. And that’s what he did. Sometimes he thought, ‘OK I have enough’ and turned the camera away. In the editing we found out that that really worked that way. It wasn’t so much about what they were telling us, [but] more about their experiences at the time.”

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An audience member asked what personal impact the filmmaking process had on the director.

“When he started he was only 22,” replied Draaijer. “He wanted to help everyone by giving them money. So that was the first thing I said, ‘Don’t help these people by giving them money, you can help in another way.’

“I think after Lampedusa he was really emotional, for a long time… He wants the whole world to see it.”

For more information about the film and upcoming screenings, visit the Those Who Feel the Fire Burning Facebook page.