25 min read

051 | Sonita Gale | Inside the hostile environment

Filmmaker Sonita Gale follows people whose lives were upended by the UK's immigration system.
051  | Sonita Gale  | Inside the hostile environment
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A sad message to start. In episode 20, you heard Katherine Alexander-Dobrovolskaia describe her family's unbelievably hard pandemic year as her daughter Masha was diagnosed with a grave and rare cancer. Kate managed to find the joy and the lessons in it and generously shared them with us. This month brought the unbearable news of Masha's passing. She was a bright young light and my heart is shattered for her parents, Kate and Dmitry, two of the best people I know. As she fought for her life, Masha fought for others too and raised more than £40,000 for a charity that funds rare cancer treatments for young people when the NHS and private insurance will not. This fundraising continues in her memory. Please consider donating here.

We've never known displacement like this, not on this scale and certainly not at this speed. In a month more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced, nearly 4 million of them as international refugees crossing the borders to Poland, to Hungary, to Romania, to Slovakia, to tiny Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. And progressively further west, to Germany, to Italy, to France, and yes, even to the east, to Russia.

To the United Kingdom? Well, we don't know how many, very few. The Home Office says about 20,000 visas have been issued, but it says nothing of how many people have been able to actually enter the country.

It may anger Michael Gove to the point of abusing his parliamentary pulpit, but it would be too far a stretch for an honest journalist to call the UK generous when it comes to refugees. And it did not start with Ukraine.

“It was that moment in time to say, this is happening. This is dark. And now let's show what these cracks in this system are doing to everyday people.”

When the war started, the British government's first instinct was to keep refugees at bay. Priti Patel's Home Office offered only extremely restrictive routes for Ukrainian family members of British citizens to reach the country and no one else. That was a political miscalculation. The Ukrainian cause is popular with British people, as it is everywhere else in Europe. Outrage eventually led to action and the government set up a slightly more generous route, taking it away from Priti Patel and handing it to Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities.

It is communities precisely, not the British state, who must figure out how to support Ukrainians. Every refugee must find a British resident to sponsor their visa and welcome them into their home. How? Some are family and friends; most are strangers who hook up on social media or via refugee organisations. The opportunity for abuse and trafficking is obvious. The risk of foisting traumatised adults and children onto well-meaning, but unprepared hosts is as well. Add a language barrier and a cumbersome administrative process requiring documents left behind in a war zone and weeks of waiting. You'll understand why so few have made it here and why refugee advocates are up in arms.

To understand the UK government's instinct to do as little as possible, to push away refugees, to make it as difficult as possible for Ukrainians – or indeed anyone else to join these shores; to understand this habit of designing complex bespoke visa schemes for every crisis – they did the same with Afghanistan – when international refugee conventions are right there, signed and ratified by the UK and designed for these exact emergency situations, you have to grasp the fundamental philosophy, the guiding principle behind the UK's handling of immigrants and asylum seekers. And that's hostility.

My latest guest on the podcast is well-placed to give us that context. Sonita Gale is the writer, director and producer of Hostile, a new documentary on the UK immigration system and the hostile environment, which I really do recommend you see to understand what's happening here. The film is maddening, but it is essential. Gale goes back into 20th century archives – the Kindertransport, the arrival of the Windrush generation, Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech.. –  and up into the depths of the pandemic to show how hostility to immigrants is weaved through British immigration policy and history. She follows skilled migrants, international students and British citizens, whose lives were upended by a policy we were promised was not about them. And she asks a potent question: Are you next?

Listen to our conversation and make sure to catch the film. (Londoners: Gale will be in live Q&A at the Curzon Soho on Wednesday night.)

Show notes

[00:00:09] Intro
[00:03:54] "The home of my parents is the home of the migrant story."
[00:07:29] "A film about the migrant struggle"
[00:13:08] "Different experiences, all interlinked by the hostile environment"
[00:16:27] "People will start having more empathy, love and understanding"
[00:21:04] "Where have you been the last 20 years?"
[00:28:30] “I started to question whether that hostile environment is going to turn on me”
[00:32:10] Where to see the film
[00:33:21] Outro

🌍 www.hostiledocumentary.com
🐦 Follow @hostiledoc on Twitter
📷 Follow @hostiledoc on Instagram


Transcript

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[00:00:00] Sonita Gale: It was that moment in time to say, this is happening. This is dark. And now let's show what these cracks in this system is doing to everyday people.

[00:00:09] Intro

[00:00:09] Isabelle Roughol: Hi. I'm Isabelle Roughol and this is Borderline.

[00:00:15] We've never known displacement like this, not on this scale and certainly not at this speed. In a month more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced, nearly 4 million of them as international refugees crossing the border to Poland, Hungary, to Romania, to Slovakia, to tiny Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. And progressively further west, to Germany, to Italy, to France, and yes, even to the east to Russia.

[00:00:43] To the United Kingdom? Well, we don't know how many, very few. The Home Office says about 20,000 visas have been issued, but it says nothing of how many people have been able to actually enter the country.

[00:00:55] Michael Gove: Look, this country has taken in people from Syria, from Afghanistan. We're taking people from Ukraine. It is an uncapped scheme. Um, you know, w we're going to disagree politically and all the rest of it, but I've just had it up to here with people trying to suggest that this country is not generous.

[00:01:13] Isabelle Roughol: That was Michael Gove a couple of weeks ago in Parliament. And fed up as he may be, the truth is that the UK has not been generous, not by a long shot. And it did not start with Ukraine.

[00:01:22] When the war started, the British government's first instinct was to keep refugees at bay. Priti Patel, the Home Office offered only, extremely restrictive routes for Ukrainian family members of British citizens to reach the country and no one else.

[00:01:35] That was a political miscalculation. The Ukrainian cause is popular with British people like it is everywhere else in Europe. Outrage eventually led to action. And the government set up a slightly more generous route, taking it away from Priti Patel and handing it to Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities. And it is communities precisely, not the British state, who must figure out how to support Ukrainians. Every refugee must find a British resident to sponsor a visa and welcome them into their home. How? Well, some are family and friends and most are strangers who hook up on social media or via refugee organizations. The opportunity for abuse and trafficking is obvious. The risk of foisting traumatized adults and children onto well-meaning, but unprepared hosts is as well. Add a language barrier and a cumbersome administrative process requiring documents left behind in a war zone and weeks of waiting, and you'll understand why so few have made it here and why refugee advocates are up in arms.

[00:02:36] To understand the UK government's instinct to do as little as possible, to push away refugees to make it as difficult as possible for Ukrainians or indeed anyone else to join these shores... To understand this habit of designing complex bespoke visa scheme for every crisis – they did the same with Afghanistan – when international refugee conventions are right there, signed and ratified by the UK and designed for these exact emergency situations, you have to grasp the fundamental philosophy, the guiding principle behind the UK's handling of immigrants and asylum seekers. And that's hostility.

[00:03:10] My guest today is well-placed to give us that context. Sonita Gale is a filmmaker, the director and executive producer of Hostile, a new documentary on the UK immigration system and the hostile environment, which I really do recommend you see to understand what's happening here. Sonita Gale goes back into 20th century archives and up into the depths of the pandemic to show how hostility to immigrants is weaved through British immigration policy and history. The film is maddening, but it is essential. I started as always by asking Sonita to tell me a little bit about who she is and what home means to her. Here is Sonita Gale.

[00:03:54] ~"~The home of my parents is the home of the migrant story.~"~

[00:03:54] Sonita Gale: My childhood home is the West Midlands. It's a little place called Bilston and it's a, it's a place where my parents went to when they came from India. Um, so I have a deep sense of belonging there, even though I haven't been there for a long time in terms of living. I have been there recently, but not living there. Um, and I guess, I guess I always look back in those years as extremely formative years and years that have carved me, um, as the individual I've become today.

[00:04:28] So home is very much there and home for me, also because I no longer have my parents, they have both left this beautiful planet, is India. And I pre COVID would go to India a couple of times a year and I see that as my home also.

[00:04:48] And then finally, I guess home is the life I've made for myself now, which is with my children and my husband, which is in London. So I feel that home can mean so many different things to so many different people. And I guess home for me has transitioned throughout my life, but each home I've had, or each memory of a home I've had is part of who I am today.

[00:05:13] Isabelle Roughol: Huhum. And is it that sense of multiple homes brought you to the topic that, that your professional life is focused on, at least right now of, of doing this film about immigrant communities?

[00:05:28] Sonita Gale: Yeah, I guess so cause the home of my parents is the home of the migrant story. You know, they came from India, post partition of India and Pakistan. My mum was a refugee in India and the atrocities that she witnessed there are very much relevant to the atrocities people are witnessing today with war. A million people died, 16 million people were displaced. She lost everything and eventually lived in a mud hut. And I think her harrowing story kind of contributed to the person I am today. And I guess my home and their home in the Midlands is kind of very symbolic of the kind of migrant story also because post Empire, post partition of India and Pakistan, post Second World War, people migrated there. They worked in the factories, in the corner shops. You know, they worked in the taxis. They were the people that were keeping society moving. And they were the people that I was surrounded by as a child, you know, they were my society.

[00:06:35] And then I guess when I moved to London, You know, I moved to a place called Camden. Well, you couldn't have such a more diverse place in London and culturally rich and full of so many different types of people from different demographics and different socioeconomic groups. And, you know, that was 29 years ago and 29 years later, I live within a mile of Camden. And I feel like that has been another part of my journey in terms of being a filmmaker and being the person I am today, those memories and that history has kind of led me to this critical point in my life, which is to tell these very important stories and led me to tell the story of Hostile.

[00:07:29] ~"~A film about the migrant struggle~"~

[00:07:29] Isabelle Roughol: Well, let's talk about that then: What is the story of Hostile?

[00:07:34] Sonita Gale: Hostile is a film that really is about the migrant struggle, but also it's a film about revealing something called the hostile environment. And the hostile environment is a set of policies that have been brought in place by successive governments over decades and decades of bad legislation after bad legislation. And this hostile environment affects around a couple of million people in our country today, right now. And about 10% of those are children. The hostile environment is a web of policies, and within those policies, you have something called No Recourse to Public Funds.

[00:08:18] And in our film, we really examine the hostile environment, the effects of the hostile environment, the history of the hostile environment, the lives that the hostile environment affects on a daily basis. And Hostile also looks to the future and also looks to where we're heading and why we're heading there. And I feel that Hostile, even though it's a very difficult film to watch for many reasons. It also shows hope at the end of the film and how people power can really change the mindsets of people at grassroots and how people power in history has really transformed the lives of many, whether it's to do with worker's rights or unions or, you know, uh, the political narratives. The uprising of people has been there in history. And I feel now more than ever that uprising, which is positive, is there.

[00:09:22] Isabelle Roughol: It's really hard to make a film about policy, right, about immigration policy and stuff that's so complex that it seems even the people who are in charge of it don't seem to fully grasp. I think you have a clip in the film that even Boris Johnson doesn't seem to understand No Recourse to Public Funds. How do you tell that story in a way that people are going to care and understand it?

[00:09:48] Sonita Gale: I think that one thing that was very challenging about this film is to have the verite, exploring the issues around the hostile environment. So that's told through four participants from the Black and Asian community. And then I think that when you're trying to layer that with legislation and policy, you know, I had to work with academics, MPs, people that come from, you know, that background where they're able to communicate in a way that has clarity to allow us to understand how those policies have affected the people that are currently in the film.

[00:10:33] So I think the way I kind of managed that was to use archives. So the film is, is a mixture of interviews, archive, and actuality. And the way I display that is I weave through the archive and the actuality to, to show how they're both deeply connected and how the, the roots of that hostile environment and the exposure of that is really affecting people's lives. And so I go back in history. I go back to successive governments. I go back to a point with Enoch Powell, you know, with his famous 'Rivers of Blood' speech, which really seeded a lot of the narrative around the hostile environment.

[00:11:15] And that archive really brings to the forefront with sort of legislation from 68 and 71 and 1999. And we see how we're weaving that archive into that narrative with the political systems at that time, that brings us to today, to the 2000s where we're seeing that narrative really at the forefront with the current arrangement.

[00:11:40] So I feel like it was a, it was a process and actually as I was shooting the film myself as the filmmaker, I was actually learning about these policies that I hadn't even known about. These acts that I just wasn't aware about. And then it was kind of like my own call for action. It was like, okay, we need to get this in the film, but how are we going to do that?

[00:12:03] So I had to really research deeply into that narrative and that story. And then really find those people that could tell me what I needed to know. So it was really the authors and the academics, the lecturers, the MPs, you know, the people on the ground, you know, the, the policy makers, the policy changers that gave us that information, which allowed me to explore those topics with such clarity in the film.

[00:12:31] And I guess myself personally, I'm not an academic person. I don't come from a highly academic background. So I wanted to place it in the film in a way that it was clear. It had clarity, it had meaning and it was approachable. And it allowed audiences from different demographics, different backgrounds to understand what was happening.

[00:13:00] And so that was my ambition as a filmmaker. And I hope I achieve that.

[00:13:08] ~"~Different eperiencs, all interlinked by the hostile environment~"~

[00:13:08] Isabelle Roughol: Another way that I, I mean, one very potent way that you're getting that message across as well is with human stories and characters who just have incredible stories to tell. I don't know if you have... I know it's hard to pick favorites, but maybe, um, one or two that you want to highlight that were particularly meaningful.

[00:13:29] Sonita Gale: Yeah. I mean, I guess, you know, it's tough, right? Because all of them are meaningful, you know? And I think that, I mean, maybe I can just briefly say that every participant in this film is meaningful and going through different experiences, but all interlinked by the hostile environment.

[00:13:50] I guess, with Anthony Brian, who was subject to the Windrush scandal, 2017. To know five decades later, after being here, coming here, you know, during the time when the NHS was forming and then to be told five decades later that you are not British, that you shouldn't be here and that we have no information about you because you were landing cards were destroyed accidentally by the Home Office. You don't have the right paperwork and we're going to deport you. And in fact, detaining him at that point and deporting him, trying to deport him, was pretty harrowing for him.

[00:14:35] And, you know, I think his story kind of was the seat of the film really. The kind of Windrush scandal brought all of this hostile environment to the forefront. I think until 2017 people didn't really realize the scale of the crisis. And that really did bring that narrative to the forefront. So I think Anthony's story is a particularly important one because it, it links everything and it connects all of the dots.

[00:15:03] And I think that his story is so kind of relevant now because the compensation scheme, it hasn't worked. People are sitting in limbo. He's got, you know, maybe 20% of the compensation that he should have received. A lot of people have been deported. A lot of people are here, but not working and suffering from depression. And I think the Windrush scandal is critical because it shows that scandals like that can happen over and over and over again because they can get away with it. And, and they got away with it. They haven't compensated.

[00:15:43] And then you have the Farrukh story. The so-called highly skilled migrants that were brought here, like Anthony to fulfill roles. And now look, what's happening to Farrukh. He consistently is trying to get his visa and settle here as an indefinite leave to remain and struggling.

[00:16:01] And then you think about the students and think, well, they are the future Anthonys and Farrukhs. So it's like each person and participant has a very important role. And I think Anthony's particularly is critical for the whole story because it shows where it's heading and, and, and where it's come from. And I think that that's pretty dangerous really to see that.

[00:16:27] ~"~People will start having more empathy, love and understanding~"~

[00:16:27] Isabelle Roughol: You mentioned earlier that you were learning right, as you were making the film. I've certainly been learning as I've been hosting this podcast and, still I'm an immigrant here and you're the daughter of immigrants. I wonder, often worry that these stories kind of only reach us and people who are, you know, politically sort of affiliated or, or, or sensitized to these issues but that the vast majority of the population that doesn't have these stories in their immediate circle, it kind of passes them by because it's so complex. So, so I wonder how do you get everyone else in a way to care about these stories and to understand these stories?

[00:17:09] Sonita Gale: Yeah. I mean, I guess my cinema tours help that. You know, I've been all across the country now. I've been to as far as Liverpool. I'm going up to Scotland. I've been invited to go to Wales, to Ireland. So I think it's the, it's the raising the awareness within communities that don't necessarily have the opportunity to see a film like this. So I think the cinema tour has been extremely beneficial for that. And a lot of people have been shocked, angry, upset, that feeling of, ~"~oh, we didn't know this was happening and now it's happening, we're going to try and do something and try and help.~"~

[00:17:49] I think also, what my plan is after the cinema tour is complete, I'm going to go on an impact tour. And that's going to be slightly different to the cinema tour because I'd actually be going into communities, into community-based screenings, into towns and villages and smaller communities where people may not necessarily see people like me or have an understanding of the life that I may have had with my migrant parents. Or into communities that are heavily populated with asylum seekers and refugees who are suffering from this hostile environment. And I think that by going into those smaller communities and raising awareness at grass roots, I'm able to bring this story to the public direct.

[00:18:39] And hopefully by doing that and having conversation, people will start having more empathy maybe, love and understanding, and probably start realizing that actually there is more similarities between us than differences. For my film, I'm trying to kind of promote that. Actually, you know, I grew up with black and brown migrant communities, but I also grew up with white working class communities. And we had far more in common than sets us apart, you know. And, our fight, our struggle, we had the same struggles, the same day-to-day issues, whether it was to do with income or whether it was to do with feeling powerless or speechless or not having the right access and the right ability to get to where you needed to get to. And I think all of these restrictions that are placed on lives, they're very similar. So I think for me, going into those working class communities is going to be really important for me and for the film. And I'm really excited about that. You know, I'm going back to my own community, which was pro-Brexit. Can you believe it? Some of those towns in the Midlands are extremely white and working class, but I'm familiar with them because I grew up around them. So for me, it will be fine as a filmmaker doing that. And I'm also going into environments like Hartlepool, um, and environments like that, that are also pro-Brexit and struggling right now with a lot of poverty.

[00:20:19] And I think it's going to be important to have this film there so that people have greater understanding that actually those migrant communities that are targeted by this hostile environment may be feeling the way I'm feeling right now. So that's what I'm doing that will happen around May and June. I've got like about 40 to 50 impact screenings lined up. So I'm super excited about that.

[00:20:43] Isabelle Roughol: Wow. That's a lot of screenings. Your film is filmed during the pandemic, right, and it's centered a lot on the experiences of lockdown and the way that communities kind of banded together. And that showed also these, these experiences that everyone had, migrant or not, certainly made worse under the hostile environment.

[00:21:04] ~"~Where have you been the last 20 years?~"~

[00:21:04] Sonita Gale: Absolutely. I think the pandemic showed cracks in our system. And, and they showed the inequality, deep rooted inequality, and it showed the pain and the suffering. It exacerbated all of that and brought it right to the foreground. Whether it's to do with workers' rights, whether it's to do with pay, whether it's to do with domestic abuse and violence, whether it's to do with the hostile environment, whether it's to do with scapegoating, institutional racism, all of these things manifested and came to the forefront with the pandemic. Food poverty... it was all there. And when we saw it, we were like, ~"~what is going on?~"~ We realized at that point that actually, this has all been happening under the radar, you know, in the shadows. And I think what the pandemic did, it thrusted all of those inconsistencies and inequalities to the forefront.

[00:22:06] And as a filmmaker, I was like everyone locked into our houses with our immediate family. And I had time to deeply reflect and think ~"~Sita, where have you been the last 20 years?~"~ You know, ~"~why haven't you been seeing this?~"~ As I was flicking through the paper and seeing all of this news unfold, you know. BAME more likely to die of COVID because of lack of vitamin D deficiency or PPE not getting to the right wards at the right time. People dying, suffering. Food banks just overrun with thousands and thousands and thousands of people. People not being able to work, not being able to afford to live because they didn't have savings. Children not getting free school meals. Wow. Didn't even know that happened. So all of these things came to the forefront for me and it was the time to make this film. It was the time to make this film for me in a global pandemic, in a global crisis.

[00:23:11] The pandemic has been dreadful for so many people. And for me, I had to turn that really dark time into something that will allow people to see in that darkness, the struggle that everyday people are going through. And that's what I did. The people like for Farrukh, the NHS worker. The people like Anthony, the painter and decorator. The student who's been studying here for two years as an international student and people like Daksha and Paresh who give up their time, seven days a week to run a food bank, to help people suffering.

[00:23:47] It was that moment in time to say, this is happening. This is dark. And now let's show what these cracks in this system is doing to everyday people. And that's why I did it.

[00:23:58] Isabelle Roughol: Yeah, that, that couple that runs the community kitchen, that was a punch to the gut to see a community come together, see people just to everything they possibly could to just simply make sure people had food. And we're talking about, you know, what, the fifth or sixth richest country in the world, and being forced to stop because they were just not getting any support. And, and that moment when they, they read the letter, and I think she got an MBE right for services, but still had to close the community kitchen because no, no government support.

[00:24:36] Sonita Gale: Absolutely. And I think that when they got that Points of Light letter and that recognition, and when we were filming that, there was a moment in the filming when we thought, ~"~right, she's going to get the kitchen.~"~ This is going to turn everything around. She's going to send that out to all the counselors, the local MPS, which she did. She's going to have meetings. She's going to get this kitchen. She's going to stay here or she's going to get another one. She'll get the funding. And as that doesn't happen, as we display in the film, and it closes, and then later, a few months later, she gets a MBE. You know, I think Daksha is very grateful for the MBE, but I think she would have been really grateful if she had got the kitchen and maintained her commitment to helping the thousands of people a week that she's helping.

[00:25:29] I think anybody that runs a food bank and everybody I've met has said to me that they don't want to be doing what they're doing. That actually there shouldn't be a need for this, the reliance on donations to feed people in our country. And I think Daksha felt the same, but she couldn't stop doing it because there was no one else out there. There was nobody out there, nobody out there to fill that gap. And I think that closure really broke Daksha and Paresh for a while, actually. So much so they had to leave London and they continue to live outside of London because they felt very let down and continue to do so today. And I think that's a very sad situation, really.

[00:26:21] Isabelle Roughol: Watching it, I kind of had the same reaction you were just mentioning when you were filming it, which is where have I been that I, that I didn't see this, that I didn't contribute. It certainly, uh, asks tough questions of the viewer as well.

[00:26:39] Sonita Gale: Absolutely it does. And that's, you know, I feel like, of course there is some regret there, but then I do feel like, well, it's okay Sonita because you've made this film. And you, you you've made this film, you've got it out there and you continue to work now in this field. And I do. I'm continuing to bring organizations together, trying to raise awareness, grassroots campaigning, positively to enact positive change.

[00:27:11] And I feel like the work is starting now with this film, but also there are hundreds of organizations out there that have been working decades on this and they are brilliant. I can't speak highly enough of those organizations that are really on the coalface working tirelessly to overcome these policies and change the mindsets of individuals.

[00:27:38] So really this film is gratitude for them. And also this film is for all of those people suffering. It's a film to say, you're not alone that we're with you. And that you now have allies and those allies are your community. And that community is from any background and any age. And it's beautiful to see the crowds coming out, see the film, young, old, black, white, brown, multicultural, you know, multi-generational. And people are speaking up and speaking out and that's beautiful to see because people like Farrukh and Anthony feel supported, they feel listened to. They feel like they're being heard and, and that's, that's amazing to see.

[00:28:30] “I started to question whether that hostile environment is going to turn on me”

[00:28:30] Isabelle Roughol: There's a point you made in the film, which I hadn't heard before and I, and I found quite fascinating, it's the idea that the philosophy behind the hostile environment is kind of spreading outwards beyond the soul realm of immigration and that things like the Policing bill, which also has been of concern here in the UK, is another prong of the same philosophy and the same approach. Can you tell me a bit, bit more about, about what you mean by that?

[00:28:58] Sonita Gale: Yeah. I mean, I guess as I was filming Hostile, I started to question whether that hostile environment is going to turn on me. I really had those thoughts. I was becoming quite worried about whether the policies that have been put in place are going to be a testing ground for things to come horrific things to come for us all.

[00:29:21] And my mother who is no longer here was on an Indefinite Leave to Remain. And I was worried about her because English wasn't her first language. She couldn't really read and write English very well. And then when I was filming and then I learned about the Police bill, I thought, hang on. This is it. This is that moment that I really was dreading.

[00:29:46] So what the Police Bill does, it restricts our rights to protest. It restricts Gypsy and Romas to travel freely and to live on the land. It limits the rights of sex workers. It limits rights for individuals that are making noise, you know, might be having a party that might be a bit too loud in, in an environment that they don't want them to have a party.

[00:30:11] And I mean, it's just restricting, restricting, restricting. And so I was looking at this Police Bill, filming the protests around it and thinking they've scooped us all up. That's what they've done. They're attacking everybody actually. And anyone. So we, we get the hostile environment. Now we get the Police Bill. My filming had to end at some point. I couldn't just keep going. When I was filming that police bill, I thought what next? And then as soon as I wrap and I'm in post, we get the Nationality and Borders bill. And I think there we go. That, that goes beyond the Police bill now. This is in immigration territory, but this is now targeting people that have British citizenship.

[00:30:58] And so I've been questioning what happens next. Are they going to start stripping people that have been here with their families for hundreds of years, you know, British citizens and say, we can actually remove you at any notice and send you to an island because you're breaking the rules, you're breaking the law?

[00:31:15] So I think there is this kind of concern and this worry and these things that are happening under the radar that you just can see. I'm just deeply concerned about, is all of this a testing ground for things to come and real issues ahead with our rights, you know? And, and, and, and I think that that was something as a filmmaker I was challenging, something I was revealing and something that was always on my mind.

[00:31:45] And it's a shame that we are where we are today. And what is beautiful to see is people are fighting back with protesting in a, in a positive way. They're coming out onto the streets again, and they're rising up, and they're forming alliances and regrouping, and community organizing is happening and people are speaking up and speaking out as they should be.

[00:32:10] Where to see the film

[00:32:10] Isabelle Roughol: For people who want to get educated and get active, what should they do? Where can they see your film?

[00:32:18] Sonita Gale: The message to them is please do come and see the film because it's an education. It's an education and it's also revealing of our current system. And also revealing of people's lives and maybe people's lives that you don't necessarily meet on a day-to-day basis. And the way you can see that film is by going onto our website at www.Hostiledocumentary.com, where all of our screenings are listed. And you can also follow us @hostiledoc on Instagram and Twitter.

[00:32:51] And you can join our campaign. Our campaign is around No Recourse to Public Funds. It's around revealing what's happening with No Recourse to Public Funds and trying to change the structure of NRPF to make it more lenient with people and to make it less cruel.

[00:33:12] Isabelle Roughol: Thank you so much. And yes, I can definitely, um, vouch for the film and, and recommend watching it.

[00:33:18] Sonita Gale: Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time today.

[00:33:21] Outro

[00:33:21] Isabelle Roughol: Thanks to Sonita Gale. Her film Hostile is in cinemas around the UK, and you can find it near you at hostiledocumentary.com. Of course as always all details are in the show notes. You can find other podcast episodes at borderlinepod.com. Sign up for the newsletter, read transcripts and essays too at isabelleroughol.com as well.

[00:33:44] The membership program is suspended at the moment until it's redesigned, but you can always do a one-time donation to support Borderline's hosting costs. And I will be grateful as always.

[00:33:53] Coming up, we'll have an episode on the international justice system and a conversation I'm really looking forward to with American journalist and activist for undocumented migrants, Jose Antonio Vargas. So make sure to hit that follow button wherever you're listening and sign up for the newsletter at borderlinepod.com.

[00:34:10] I'm your host, Isabelle Roughol. Music is by Audionautix. Borderline is a One Lane Bridge production. And I will talk to you very soon.