Award-winning debut book, No Friend But The Mountains, by Behrouz Boochani will be transformed into a feature film, which begins in Australia in mid-2021.
Following six years of immigrant detention, the Iranian Kurdish writer and journalist currently residing in New Zealand said adaptation will increase international consciousness about the reality behind Australia’s brutal immigration regime.
“The most important thing is to share this story, and not just my story,” said Guardian Australia. “We will share this story in different languages in the Australian Government in Manus and in Nauru and the film is a very relevant and powerful language.
“It’s a strong platform, it’s everybody’s language. I believe that this story will be discussed by more people and we can take it more internationally. That’s extremely important.”
Boochanis biography 2018 has previously won Australia’s richest literary award, a Victorian premier literary award as well as the national award for Biography from within the Manus detention centre, one text message at a time.
A daily Guardian Australia reporter, Boochani said he saw friends shot and killed by guards, time alone after witnessing a hunger strike and mental harm done to fellow asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre.
No Friend But The Mountains was written while in detention and traduced with Moones Mansoubi and Omid Tofighian academic. The journalist also filmed the documentary Chauka, Tell us about the time of Manus ‘ life with the use of a guard-hidden smartphone.
No Friend But The Mountains will be shot mainly in Australia and will be a collaborative project between three production companies from Australia: Aurora Film, Sweetshop & Green and Hoodlum Entertainment.
Boochani said that his previous film and his fellow asylum seekers and refugees would take the new one into account.
“We recorded this part of Australian history,” he said. “That is important.”
“[In saying this] I include the book and … the works that other people [created] about Manus and this exile policy. It is important that we created those and now others can use them.
“The government of Australia still seeks to conceal the truth – and they should know the tale is a huge one now. This is not only my case, but our story.”
Writer and producer Ákos Armont and producer Antony Waddington initiated the change, the companies said in a statement.
“Mountains is a defining tale for our time: not just of Australia, but how the world deals with refugees,” Waddington said. “Funny at times, it’s overwhelmingly a story of triumph over despair.”
Made in Kurdistan, Boochani fled Iran in 2013 following a newspaper office that he co-founded, broke in by revolutionary guards. He arrived in July of that year on Christmas Island in Australia and in August moved to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Boochani also won an award for investigative journalism from Anna Politków and an award from Amnesty International Australia Media
“There are some big projects that in future, people will hear more about them,” he told Guardian Australia. “This is important [but] it is not the only project. I am working with lots of researchers and also in other arts communities.”