‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’: Making the decision to become a ‘boat person’

Co-presented by the University of Sydney Social Justice Network

14 March

Join us for a screening of the award-winning documentary, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea as part of its official national tour. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the filmmaker, an academic working in the area of refugee human rights, and a former ‘boat person’ and refugee advocate.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a documentary that tells the stories of asylum seekers who made the impossible decision to become ‘boat people’. In the film, Jessie Taylor and Ali Reza Sadiqi travelled across Indonesia and met with 250 asylum seekers in jails, detention centres and hostels. Through candid interviews, hidden camera footage and in the words of asylum seekers themselves, the story of the ‘refugee’ is told. What pushes people to leave home? What do they leave behind? What do they fear? Why did they choose this path? And what does it take to turn someone into a ‘boat person’?


Dr. Laura Beth Bugg

Dr. Laura Beth Bugg, Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney. Laura Beth’s research interests are the intersection of religion, place and welfare governance. She is particularly interested in the experiences of new immigrant groups in the establishment of places of worship and religious schools, and the ways in which contestations around minority places of worship and schools are mediated and controlled by local governance processes. Her most recent project has examined faith-based welfare organisations in Australia and the UK that provide services to asylum seekers and refugees.


Dr. Susan Banki

Dr. Susan Banki, Lecturer in Human Rights, University of Sydney. Susan’s research interests lie in the political, institutional, and legal contexts that explain the roots of and solutions to international human rights violations. In particular, she is interested in the ways that questions of sovereignty, citizenship/membership and humanitarian principles have shaped our understanding of and reactions to various transnational phenomena, such as the international human rights regime, international migration and the provision of international aid. Susan’s focus is in the Asia-Pacific region, where she has conducted extensive field research in Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh and Japan on refugee/migrant protection, statelessness and border control. She is currently investigating the local, regional and international mechanisms (and the interactions between them) that serve as potential levers for change. In 2012 Dr. Banki received an Australian Research Council – Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for her project, “Refugee Activism and Social Movements: the Transformation of Homeland Politics”.

Jessie Taylor

Jessie Taylor, Filmmaker of “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”, lawyer and refugee advocate. Jessie has a broad practice in private and public law. She works particularly administrative law, crime, compensation, mental health, human rights & equal opportunity and migration. As a well-respected personality in the refugee and human rights sector in Australia, Jessie is a regular guest on radio and television news and current affairs programs, and a regular speaker and writer on human rights. Jessie is also the author of the report 'Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia', which she wrote after a fact-finding mission to Indonesia in July 2009. Prior to travelling to Indonesia, Jessie worked on the National Human Rights Consultation as a researcher and writer and in 2007 wrote and produced the film 'We Will Be Remembered For This' which explored the government's mandatory immigration detention policy. Jessie is foster mum to a teenage boy who travelled to Australia alone as a refugee from Afghanistan. She is passionate about encouraging people to use their gifts and opportunities to inspire and create positive change in the world.