The Filmmaker Fund
In 2001, 20 Afghan refugees arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos. It was that year’s biggest news event, recalls Kyriakos, the coast guard captain. Back then, his job mostly entailed carrying out routine checks in the 4.1-mile-wide strait separating the island from the Turkish mainland. Those tranquil days are long gone. Kyriakos and his 10 colleagues are now called out hourly to save hundreds of people risking the crossing. Greek journalist Daphne Matziaraki joined the heroic captain for a single day: October 28, 2015. You can’t get any closer to this living nightmare. Matziaraki crawls with her camera among the drenched and drowning castaways searching for a safe haven on a flimsy boat. Some of them don’t make it. There are shocking images – who can ever get used to seeing men, women and children drowning? The scenes shot back on dry land form an effective counterpoint: from a static position, the camera films a sun-drenched table laden with food, while a coast guard boat speeds past and an approaching ambulance wails in the distance.