Dialog Box

Arts | Community | Human Rights | Refugees | Social Justice
Scattered People
Two musicians seeking asylum in Australia encounter the Scattered People band, a small group of kindred spirits who play music and create songs with refugees and asylum seekers as they struggle to discover their new identities. But will they find refuge in a country of sharply divided attitudes?

Saha and Mas are young, they have dreams, they love music and all they want is the freedom to live a safe life. Scattered People Film is a documentary about the transformational and healing power of music, bringing together people, cultures and countries.

With the help of musicians including Missy Higgins, John Butler, Michael Franti, Archie Roach, Katie Noonan, Dan Sultan, Vince Jones, Harry James Angus and more, we also explore how music can help unite, heal and restore our compassion for some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.

Our film is in late production stage and we are seeking completion funds for final filming and post-production.


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

The central message of our documentary is that music brings people and cultures together creating a world that is richer because of its diversity.

Nearly 30,000 asylum seekers are currently living in the Australian community on Bridging and Temporary Protection Visas, which restrict any sense of real belonging as well as any chance of reuniting with their families. They are marginalised and disadvantaged in many ways and struggle in a limbo of continuing uncertainty.

In our documentary we show how easy it is when music is used to help people connect and begin relationships. Scattered People Film helps to re-humanise people seeking asylum and leaves the public feeling empowered and inspired to act.

Scattered People Film meets the aims of many philanthropic foundations by

•Communicating the value and effectiveness of music and the arts in bringing about individual benefits and broader social cohesion and change.

•Placing music as a highly accessible way of breaking down barriers to communication and interaction in community and therapeutic groups that brings people of difference together.

•Raising audience and community awareness by showing the journeys of two asylum seekers and going deeply into their experience as opposed to the short media bites often presented in the media.

•Offers simple solutions and actions volunteers can take to get involved.

Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

OUR AIM: By telling a story with music and popular Australian musicians and asylum seekers we will create a heartfelt, topical and inspiring documentary that will serve to help reframe the asylum seeker issue.

 OUR OBJECTIVES: To help reframe the way some Australians see asylum seekers and therefore shift the national conversation to a more compassionate and accepting tone.

• To give a voice to the disenfranchised so they might publically share their story and in some way help the plight of all people who are seeking a new home in a new country.

• The asylum seeker networks and other related helper communities such as the Red Cross, Brothers of St Laurence etc. will benefit from the increased awareness and generosity inspired by this film.

Scattered People Film will become a resource that can be screened throughout Australia in a low cost affordable format to reach as many communities. This will be done through downloadable education packages for awareness and outreach programs. Specially targeted education packages (see Strategy section.) Resources for humanities, arts, sociology and music students wishing to explore the option of music therapy or using music in group work, community building or personal counselling therapy.

We will measure our impact with the help of our Impact Producer.

Network Broadcast viewer numbers and box office ticket sales. Media generated articles. Feedback collected from asylum seeker and refugee organisations (funding dependent). School and internet education pack download numbers. Public Hosted Screening Events (private space or cinema) numbers. VOD (Netflix, Stan etc.) viewings and DVD sales. Audience surveys collected post screenings and broadcast to measure change in attitudes.


What is your education and outreach strategy?

We will engage an Impact Producer to co-ordinate our strategy rollout and will be partnering with organisations who are experts in this space of education.

We will promote our outreach program tapping into the high profile musicians and music managers and their large network of pre-existing social media and email lists.

A concert event launch with awareness campaign involving available high profile artists and the Scattered People band performing with our asylum seekers.

Submission to relevant film festivals.

Online downloadable Discussion Guide for viewers.

Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Resources.

•Although Scattered Film people is relevant to the curriculum areas of Music and Music Therapy, Society and Culture and Sociology Studies, it has the potential to become part of all faculties nationally including Health Education, Values Education, Civics and Citizenship, Cross-cultural Studies and English.

The Scattered People Film is part of a five country, four year research project on the impact and role of music and the arts in peace building. Out of Queens University Belfast in conjunction with Musicians Without Borders (https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org), this international study will culminate in various materials and sound and art installations in Belfast and Brazil.

We are building our online community right now. We have a website which will contain extra material consisting of interviews and concert footage and other links to resources and organisations, refugee and asylum seeker FAQs and Action Steps.

John Swatland
John and Lizzi Swatland
Total budget
58 Minutes