When there’s a will there’s a way… out. Ali 707 is a short film based on a true story, set in the former Woomera Detention Centre, Australia, 2001.
Interview with Writer/Director Hannah Moore
Congratulations! Why did you decide to make this film?
Well, Ali 707 is actually based on a true story. When I was a teenager my family was very involved in working and advocating for detainees in the Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia. I went in to the centre a few times and was incredibly affected by what I saw there and the stories I heard and the people I met.
But it was hard to communicate those things, to tell those stories without being met by hostility or disbelief. How we process asylum seekers was and still is such a political issue, and I came to see that at the base of it they are just people, individuals – and we can empathise with an individual much more easily than with a group. And I had heard of Ali – his was my favourite story from Woomera because it was funny, and bold and hopeful.
Why is it called Ali 707?
Ali was the name of the man this is based on and detainees in Woomera were called by numbers, which at that time corresponded to the boats they had arrived on. It’s got a good ring to it right? A bit James Bond…
How did you cast the main character?
Baqir is a dear friend of mine. I was originally looking for an Iranian actor but I just couldn’t find anyone in Melbourne or Adelaide. I thought of Baqir because he has a natural charisma and is a creative person though he’d never acted before. I thought that because we had a relationship I could work with him to get the performance we needed. And he runs, that was super helpful.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We have received positive feedback and interest in what happened to Ali. I haven’t had any push back at all really, and hopefully that’s because the film isn’t political, it’s just one man’s story. People often comment about Samantha Young, the guard and her performance which makes me very happy because I think she’s very talented and I think she is really the audience’s way in to this world. And she came on board at the very last minute which was such a blessing.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Often, especially internationally, it’s an opportunity to speak about Australia’s immigration and refugee policies. Sometimes that surprises me, how little people know or how curious they are or how moved people are to try and help.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
We make films for people to see – it’s about eyeballs. Even though this film is set in 2001 and was filmed in 2012 I still think it’s very relevant and should be watched. Sadly I think it’s a reminder of how little progress we’ve made in this area.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify the message of this film?
We would be interested in distribution or further festival screenings.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
I hope people feel a little something, and then they might wonder – what about all those others? What about Manus Island? What if that was me?
What’s a key question that will help spark a discussion about this film?
Why did Ali run? What would you do if you ended up in this situation under these circumstances?
What other projects are you currently developing or directing?
I am redrafting a feature script that touches on some similar themes. I’m also finishing editing a documentary I made in 2014 and am about to shoot more of a comedy web series I co-created – The Greatest Love of All.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Interview: April 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
ALI - 707
Length: 12 minutes
Writer: Hannah Moore
Director: Hannah Moore
Producer: Cameron Ford
About Hannah Moore: Hannah is a filmmaker and actor based in Melbourne. Her short films and web series have screened internationally and been broadcast in Australia.
Looking for (ie buyer, distributor, sales agent, producer, media interest) Buyer, media interest
Funders or made in association with: Crowdfunded through Pozible
Where can I watch it @WOW? ‘Belonging Short Film Program’
- Heartland Film Festival
- Cleveland Film Festival
- Malibu Film Festival
- London Lift Off FF
- St Kilda FF
- Brisbane International FF
- W.O.W. FF
- SBS Television