À TOUS VENTS, un film de Michel Toesca / TO THE FOUR WINDS, a film by Michel Toesca
Help us to tell the story of the inhabitants of the Roya valley, refugees – and their shared adventure.
À TOUS VENTS, un film de Michel Toesca / TO THE FOUR WINDS, a film by Michel Toesca
Na het succes van deze eerste collectie, is er een tweede COLLECTIE IN PROGRESS:
Overzicht van het projekt!
IN DE WIND schetst de ontmoeting tussen de inwoners van het Roya Dal en de aankomst van de vluchtelingen in het dal om te proberen de Frans-Italiaanse grens over te steken.
Michel Toescais cineast. Hij woont in het dal en filmt al twee jaar de mannen en vrouwen die besloten hebben op te treden tegen een weerzinwekkende situatie, ondanks de juridische risico’s die dat met zich meebrengt. De mensen, die elkaar nauwelijks kennen, komen bij elkaar en organiseren zich om de mensenrechten op te eisen.!
Cédric Herrou, een boer in het dal, is al snel een centrale persoon geworden als hulp aan de ballingen. Hij is een van de hoofdpersonen in de film.
Uit hun relatie, waar samen grote risico’s worden genomen tijdens het filmen van gebeurtenissen die in het begin beschouwd worden als illegaal, komt een hechte betrokkenheid tot stand.
IN DE WIND is het verhaal van hun vriendschap en de bruggen die geslagen worden tussen de inwoners van het dal en deze vluchtelingen, die gekozen hebben om alles te riskeren in de hoop een beter leven op te bouwen…..!
Het doel van 15,000 euro is de basis om de ontwikkeling en de produktie van de film voort te zetten. Om de nodige middelen te hebben om deze bioscoopversie te realiseren, moeten we in totaal 150,000 euro inzamelen.
Alle steun telt mee, heel veel dank aan iedereen die ons op deze weg vergezelt !!!!
Het ontstaan van het projekt, door Michel Toesca, producent van de film!
Sinds 8 jaar woon ik in het Roya Dal. In vogelvlucht, op 30 kilometer van de Middellandse Zee, verheffen de Roya bergen zich tot 3,300 meter. Dit dal, dat op de grens ligt tussen Frankrijk en Italie, ken ik sinds mijn jeugd. Ik woon, met mijn vrouw en mijn dochter, in het kleine huisje waar ik in mijn kinderjaren de vakanties heb doorgebracht. Ik ken de mensen hier, en ik houd intens veel van dit gebied. Ik heb drie produkties gerealiseerd tussen 2009 en 2015: “Per sempre”, “Le Village”, en “Démocratie Zéro6”.
Als men in dit dal woont, doet men de boodschappen in Italie, in Ventimiglia, de dichtstbijzijnde stad. Sinds april 2015 zijn hier honderden migranten uit Afrika en het Midden Oosten aangekomen. Ik was van deze situatie in Griekenland, in Italië, in Lampeduza, op Sicilië, en in het Middellandse Zee gebied op de hoogte, maar wat er zich afspeelde in Ventimiglia werd niet in de media vermeld. Toen Frankrijk in juni 2015 zijn grenzen heeft gesloten, waren er duizenden die in Ventimiglia wachtten om verder te trekken, om de grens te omzeilen via de kust en de naaste omgeving. Als de grens bij Menton wordt gesloten, leggen de Fransen Italië, in Ventimiglia, dezelfde maatregels op, die Engeland opgelegd heeft aan Frankrijk in Calais. De akkoorden van Dublin uit 2013 schrijven voor dat migranten asiel moeten zoeken in het eerste Europese land, waar ze voet aan wal zetten. Het grootste deel onder hen heeft geen enkele zin in Italië te blijven, en ze zien zich geblokkeerd. Het is, toen ik deze vluchtelingen massaal bij het station zag, onder bruggen, en op de rotsen van het strand op de grens van Ventimiglia/Menton, dat ik begrepen heb, dat hier iets gebeurde, en dat ik van tijd tot tijd ben gaan filmen, zonder eigenlijk te denken aan een film. Ik film regelmatig de dingen die om me heen gebeuren, ik houd ervan door middel van de camera mijn blik te werpen op wat ik zie. Dat is waar ik van houd: filmen.
Van de kant van de Italiaanse grens kunnen de vluchtelingen de Franse kust zien…. Maar de grens is gesloten. Het grootste deel onder hen probeert te voet door de bergen te lopen. Ze worden regelmatig gestopt door de politie en het Franse en Italiaanse leger, en opnieuw teruggestuurd naar Sicilië of naar het zuiden van Italië. Nochtans, het is zelden dat deze mensen de moed verliezen: ze komen naar Ventimiglia terug, en proberen opnieuw de grens over te steken. Sommigen tot 22 keer toe. Het zet ons aan het denken, wanneer we weten dat het officiële aantal vluchtelingen hetzelfde is als het aantal geidentificeerden aan de grens…. maar het niet een gelijk aantal mensen betreft…
Photo credit : © Sinawi Medine
In the autumn of 2015, like everyone else in the valley, I started seeing exhausted men, women and children, starving, walking along the roads and railroad tracks, only wearing flip-flops and t-shirts in the cold. They slept on the ground, in the rain, in public gardens and train tunnels with young children. For some months already, refugees had been piling up in Ventimiglia, looking for a way to get into France. In September, they realized they could cross the frontier through the mountains.
These crossings are dangerously risky. Many get lost, or take the wrong route because of the geography of the valley, which is a French enclave into Italian territory – when heading to the North, refugees think they’re moving towards Paris when in fact, they’re going back into Italy (see map.)
One feels helpless when faced with so many people in the greatest poverty. Like many others, I stop, give them food or clothes. I seek to understand who they are and where they’re going. Those who speak English tell me what they’ve been through after fleeing their countries: War, dictatorship, crossing the deserts, Libya…
I am overwhelmed by their stories, and their destitution. They have endured wars, torture, rape, deserts and the Mediterranean crossing. They get there, in a state of mere survival.
As for local public authorities and the prefecture, they overtly encourage sending the migrants back to Italy, including unaccompanied minors – which is illegal – while reinforcing controls and refusing to set up reception centres. The military police, border police and Sentinelle Police force patrol the valley everyday. Check points have been set up and arrests intensify. Their goal is to prevent refugees to reach the prefecture to seek asylum, although they are entitled to.
Cédric Herrou lives further down the valley, in Breil-sur-Roya. We’ve been friends for a long time. He has seen my films, and has even organized a screening of my previous movie Démocratie Zero6 in a neighbouring village. He raises hens, tends olive trees and sells the eggs and oil in AMAPs (associations supporting small farming) and on markets. He was always part of the struggles in the valley and he’s convinced that being a citizen means being present on the ground on a daily basis.
Very quickly, Cédric Herrou and many others decided to house, feed and sometimes give a lift to refugees to get out of the valley so they could continue their journey. They face up to five years in prison and a €50,000 fine.
A pallet living room with clotheslines and tent fabric… On Cédric’s property, a collective day-to-day life wag organized with the migrants.
I started filming when he started smuggling migrants into France.
I began in Ventimiglia with refugees and Italian associations. I filmed the border and military police as well as Italian and French politicians: powerlessness, contradictory internal commands, circumventing the law on asylum, use of fake legal documents to send unaccompanied minors back to Italy… Refugees face a situation that is beyond their control, paying the price for anomalies in the administration and police institutions that are left to themselves due to the lack of clear directives and competent jurisdiction.
I then followed the migrants’ journey and went back up the Roya valley, where I shooted how they organized mutual assistance and smuggling.
Cédric Herrou then came to me and suggested I film and participate in the collective of associations set up to cope with a situation that is upsetting life in the valley.
The idea is to point the irregularities from the prefecture and try and make political positions shift to obtain a satisfactory administrative and legal response. At that time, there was no media coverage at all, and Cédric Herrou was not a local hero yet. I accepted his proposal with enthusiasm.
As months go by, our friendship developed as we carried out and shared actions. Him and I have witnessed the same things at the same time. We were both affected and shocked by a brutal and absurd situation. In Cédric, I find a brother who is equally touched by a strong belief in justice, life and self-derision. Because of our mutual trust and understanding, I can record scenes at a very close distance.
It has been two years now since we have seen the first migrants in the Roya valley. Since then, hundreds have crossed our region, and there are newcomers everyday. Quite a lot has happened during that period. After an article in the New York Times, Cédric got a lot of media attention and became a figure of solidarity towards refugees.
During the past two years, over a dozen participants in the struggle were arrested, judged, sentenced, while others are still waiting for their trial.
What I find immensely satisfying and exciting is that, thanks to our actions, our struggle and the film, we managed to affect a small region in the world. Lawyers got organized in a group to hold the prefecture and department accountable. This is no longer humanitarian aid only, but legal and political assistance. Abuses from the prefecture and the police have been exposed, which led to an order from the administrative court sentencing the prefect for seriously obstructing the asylum system. This may be a small victory compared to the refugee issue in Europe, but we were pleased with the news as we achieved this with joy and derision. We are proud to have been the sand in the gears. We were able to get our way, avoiding violence, and with a smile.
And yet, the prefecture persists in using all the repressive tools in its control to contain refugees in the Roya valley and prevent them from seeking asylum.
This is why we are calling on you today, to help us make this film.
The money collected will enable us to finish TO THE FOUR WINDS, providing funds for the rest of the shooting to be done – the first part were self-financed by the filmmaker – post production and promotion. We would also like to use the money to raise awareness among French citizens and public authorities on this episode in the story of migration, that has been unfolding over the past two years in Ventimiglia and the Roya valley.
A Brief Summary of Events
Hundreds of refugees arrive in Ventimiglia. France closes its borders.
Makeshift refugee camps are established in Ventimiglia. The mayor of the city bans distribution of food to refugees.
All camps in Ventimiglia are dismantled.
Photo credits : © Sinawi Medine
The Roya inhabitants start seeing migrants wandering on the valley roads, railroad tracks and paths. They are exhausted and starving men, women and children, in a state of mere survival.
The whole valley reacts with their presence. Everybody does differently, according to one’s own feelings. Some immediately help them, others do not know what to do, the majority keep their distances, and some others feel overwhelmed. In the beginning, we are scared to house refugees in our homes. One day, we learn that someone is helping them, so we talk about it discreetly, because those feeling migrants are invading the country become vocal about it. Very quickly, migrants are welcomed by the few families that have decided to host them, stretching from the south to the north of the valley. There is a surge in acts of spontaneous solidarity, both in Italy and France. This improvised network expands of its own accord, without consultation. It is a gut response to an absurd situation. No one really knows then what is legal or illegal, and no one really bothers in the face of the emergency.
With the surge of more and more vulnerable people in the Roya valley, refugees being evicted after the dismantlement of camps in Ventimiglia and against the backdrop of France’s repressive policy of closing borders, the inhabitants get more and more mobilized. They decide to get organized and restart the Roya Citoyenne association, modifying the original articles – “the defence of the citizens of the world” is now a priority. The community coordinates mutual assistance; lawyers, including Mireille Damiano, Zia Oloumi and Maeva Binimelis gather together to establish a legal strategy; doctors and nurses from Médecins du Monde volunteer to deliver medical care in reception centres.
Tired of being in constant humanitarian emergency, the collective aims at shifting the political and administrative lines: media coverage becomes strategic.
Françoise Cotta is a lawyer at the Paris Bar. She lives part time in the Roya valley and she’s a member of the Roya Citoyenne association.
Cédric Herrou and Michel Toesca meet with Adam Nossiter, who won the Pulitzer Prize and is the current Paris correspondant for the New York Times. Adam wants to write a story on the influx of migrants in the region. Cédric and Michel show him the mountain and railroad tracks walked by migrants.
A few weeks later, Cédric is on the front page in the New York Times. The situation intensifies. Cédric quickly becomes an international media figure, embodying solidarity, which he uses to the benefit of his friends and the Roya Citoyenne association to pursue political action, beyond parties. Cédric uses media coverage to expose the issue of migrants in the public and political life, to the point of discussing it live with Manuel Valls on France 2 public television channel. Answering journalists’ questions, he does not claim to be an activist but a simple human being taking action in a bleak inhumane situation.
After the publication of the New York Times story, local politicians Mr. Ciotti and Mr. Estrosi claim the Roya valley is filled with dangerous extremists. They file a lawsuit against them and accuse them of smuggling foreigners and terrorists on French soil. In the valley too, the population is divided on how to deal with refugees.
Households ready to host migrants are too few. More than 80 people now live on Cédric’s property. A group of inhabitants, Cédric at the front, open a squat in an disused building belonging to the SNCF state railway company in the north of the valley to give shelter to a hundred of refugees.
Three days later, the director of the prefect’s cabinet Mr. François Xavier Lauch, and public prosecutor Mr. Jean-Michel Prêtre (in charge of prosecution on behalf of the state) get to the site along with 200 riot police officers, who dismantle the squat and evacuate the migrants.
Cédric takes on them about the illegal treatment of unaccompanied minors, who are sent back to Italy instead of being taken care of. “Ok, we might not abide by the law, but you don’t either. So as long as you keep infringing the law, we won’t respect it either!” Cédric demands that the minors still present in the squat be placed in reception centres. The prefect cannot refuse.
An hour later, Cédric is arrested by the police and held in custody for the third time, a scene that Michel captures with the camera hidden under his arm. He manages to give the rushes to a friend before being evacuated in his turn.
Nice courthouse. A massive crowd is gathered to support Cédric, including the media.
The prosecution calls for an eight-month suspended sentence against Cédric for his statements in the New York Times and opening a squat in the valley. In February 2017, the court orders a suspended fine of €3,000 for helping migrants enter the country illegally but he is cleared of more severe charges of the illegal occupation of an abandoned SNCF building.
In August 2016, he had already faced charges for giving a lift to eight Eritreans but the case was closed on the grounds that he had acted out of humanitarian reasons.
The administrative court sentences the prefect for seriously obstructing the asylum process. The actions of both the prefect and police are deemed unlawful.
Both the prefecture and department place Cédric in an absurd situation. He alone can take a dozen asylum seekers from the Roya valley to Nice without being arrested. He overcomes the failings of the state, which is being passive in the situation.
The influx of migrants is growing. SNCF refuses to take migrants on board from Breil-sur-Roya to Nice for free. Police and military controls are on a surge, resulting in the Roya Citoyenne association, with Cédric at the front, to walk there through winding mountain roads. It is a three-day walk, over a distance of a little more than 80 kilometres, on the ancestral salt road towards Nice, with a hundred refugees.
A couple of days later, Cédric’s property is surrounded by the police and army, making it impossible to leave the Roya valley. A siege of sorts, containing refugees in the valley, while reception centres are overly congested. The state must do something to cope with the growing number of refugees. It is not for associations to deal with it. The prefecture’s inaction and repression are simply inadequate and surreal.
19 June 2017
The advocate general Mr. Raffin calls for an eight months suspended sentence against Cédric. The court will take its decision on 8 august.
21 June 2017 Cédric Herrou is placed a new tim in police custody for helping foreigners in an irregular situation. He is released on 22 June. The two minors arrested with him are taken in charge by the local social welfare department.
26 june 2017
The researcher Pierre-Alain Mannoni is tried on appeal, the advocate general calls for a three months suspended sentence against him for his aid to the migrants.
Waar dient de collecte voor
Michel is twee jaar geleden begonnen met filmopnames. Nu hebben we u nodig om de film tot werkelijkheid te doen komen.
Om hem af te maken, moeten we de laatste opnames financieren, het beeld en geluid, de editing, de ondertitels, etc. Daar hebben we ongeveer nog 8 maanden werk aan. Voor deze etappes, essentieel voor het uitbrengen van de film in de bioscoop, moeten studios met technische mensen worden ingehuurd.
Door middel van deze gezamelijke collecte kunnen we dit avontuur vervolgen en afmaken.
Dank aan iedereen die ons initiatief en dit projekt ondersteunt!!
Het doel van 15,000 euro is de basis die ons de mogelijkheid geeft door te gaan met de ontwikkeling en de produktie van de film. Maar om ons tot het eind te begeleiden, hebben we nog een beetje meer nodig!
EERSTE STAP / 15,000 EURO
We financieren een deel van de filmopnames, en van de voorbereiding van de montage: 10,000 euro voor salarissen; 1,000 euro voor editing (+ 2,800 euro leggen we weg voor tegenprestaties, en 1,200 euro voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
TWEEDE STAP / 15,000 EURO (voor een totaal van 30,000 euro)
We financieren ook een deel van de montage, met in het geheel 20,000 euro voor salarissen, en 2,000 euros voor editing (+ 5,600 euro voor de tegenprestaties en 2,400 euro voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
DERDE STAP / 30,000 EURO (voor een totaal van 60,000 euro)
We financieren ook een deel van de montage/geluid, met een totaal bedrag van 34,000 euro voor salarissen, en 10,000 euros voor editing (+ 11,200 euros totaal voor de tegenprestaties en 4,800 euros voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
VIERDE STAP / 30,000 EURO (voor een totaal van 90,000 euro)
We financieren ook het grootste deel van de afwerking van de editing, de ondertitels…. met 46,000 euro voor salarissen, 20,000 euro voor editing (+ in totaal 16,800 euro voor tegenprestaties en 7,200 euro voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
VIJFDE STAP / 30,000 EURO (voor een totaal van 120,000 euro)
Wij nemen deel aan de financiering van de laatste afwerking en we starten met promoten/distributie, met 58,000 euro voor salarissen, 30,000 euro voor editing (+ 22,400 euro voor tegenprestaties en 9,600 voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
ZESDE STAP / 30,000 EURO (voor een totaal van 150,000 euro)
We naderen het stadium van genoeg financiering om de volledige produktie van de film te verzekeren, en bereiden ons voor op de distributie in de bioscopen om zoveel mogelijk publiek te trekken, met 70,000 euro voor salarissen, 40,000 euro voor editing (+ 28,000 euro voor tegenprestaties en 12,000 euro voor de commissie aan Kiss Kiss Bank Bank).
Het produktie bedrijf van de film, SaNoSi Productions ontvangt het totale bedrag van de collecte na aftrek van de commissie kosten.
The film is expected for May 2018!
Producer, SaNoSi Productions
SaNoSi Productions is an independent production company based in the Centre region. Established by Jean-Marie Gigon in 2005, it supports unique television and cinema projects questioning the world and its diversity.
SaNoSi Productions produces short pieces, documentaries and fictions for television and cinema.
“I met Michel in 1986. We worked together on the script of a film. We quickly became friends. From then on, on many occasions, Michel has shared his work with me.
In June 2016, Michel told me he had started filming what was happening in his region, the Roya valley – the interactions between the refugees and the locals. He kept me informed on a regular basis, about his work with the migrants and the inhabitants of the valley, which he was interviewing.
Michel is often upset by the refugees’personal stories, what they went through in order to get here. He tells me how difficult it is, for the valley inhabitants, to help starving and exhausted migrants. He mentions his friend Cédric Herrou, his indignation and refusal to close his door to the exiles.
In the autumn of 2016, Michel asked me if I would be ready to take part in the production of his film. The situation in the valley is rapidly changing, attracting media attention. I am so touched by his effort to act in support of the migrants, with the inhabitants of the valley that I commit to producing his film.
Filming, for Michel, was a way to react and get away from the uneasy feeling in front of an impossible situation – our rich society unable to treat refugees with dignity. His work questions our humanity and our ambiguous position when facing migrants coming from another country, conveying another reality, where death, violence and misery are so common.
Most of us feel uneasy in front of migrants, as their situation is a reflection of who we are, with our share of responsibility and contradictions. We wish we could help them, but only a few of us do...
We have a hard time imagining what these people went through. Who really wants it anyway? We are afraid of it. Their mere presence is questioning our comfortable position, reminding us that life can also mean surviving. We are left coping with powerlessness and over-indulgence.
Politicians have an ambiguous stance on the issue, avoiding it as much as they can, or else exploiting it.
Talking with Michel convinced me that his film was necessary. It won’t be an advocacy movie but a political film, directly confronting issues that we are faced with as individuals and as a nation in the current political context.
The film is yet to be done. With Michel, we looked for the person who would be best suited to use hours of rushes, initially made to document the situation on the spot, sometimes in poor technical conditions. We needed someone with a vision who would continue and finish the film. When we met with Catherine Libert, we realized immediately she would be perfect for Michel to work with.”
Catherine Libert, editor
Filmmaker, editor, colourist, Catherine worked on documentary and experimental films, including her own. She likes to use silver film, which she develops in laboratories. She met Michel in the Villa Arson National Centre for Contemporary Art in Nice.
“When Michel asked me to edit his film, I discovered the images and I immediately felt I wanted to get involved in the project and fight for it.
I feel exactly like people in the Roya valley. A year and a half ago, a squat opened in a secondary school near my place. Illegal immigrants lived there. I gradually got to meet some of them. I realized they could not get documents because they did not know French well enough to explain what had happened to them since they had to flee their country. This is why I have teached French to a dozen refugees, to help them deal with administrative procedures. What surprised me the most were people’s reactions – some suddenly started talking to me, others winked at me knowingly, before saying, “I help them too”. Like the manager of the printing shop where I was doing copies for my lessons, for example. When he understood what I was doing, he stopped making me pay. I am touched by all these gestures of mutual assistance. I know now that there is much more solidarity than we think. It can be anyone – the baker, our next-door neighbour. People are capable of opening their doors.”
English translation : Caroline Ferrard
Nederlandse vertaling : Barbara Magnus