Safar [Journey] paints a portrait of the regional train that connects the refugee camp of Malakasa to Athens, in Greece. Many of the approximately 1800 migrants and refugees that temporarily reside in the camp depend on the train for their daily chores and needs. In Safar, this commute to the city creates the scenery in which stories, feelings and experiences unfold, while giving a sense of the continuous transition in which the refugees live. At the same time, the daily journey forms one of the few moments of interaction with Greek society, making the train both a physical and symbolical space through which a congested subject is approached: the next stage of the European refugee crisis in Greece. The film is mosaic that carries the viewers in the train and offers them insights of the travelers’ lives, who after crossing mountains and seas cannot escape going back and forth between Malakasa and Athens, between their memories and dreams, between their fears and hopes.
Alexander comes from Costa Rica, Latin America. His major is in International Relations with an emphasis in International Cooperation. Currently he is finishing his master’s thesis in Latin American Studies, after which he will continue his studies in photography. He has worked for International NGO’s, and as a researcher for the university and has an interest in topics such as migration, afro-descendance, cultural resistance and socio-spatial segregation.
Natascha Erfanipour is currently in her final year of the bachelor Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. During her studies she focused on language ideology and religion. Due to her Iranian background, she is also highly interested in the social-political aspects within the Iranian context. She currently works as a volunteer with women who experiences domestic violence in the Netherlands. During the Visual Anthropology course in Athens, Natascha was intrigued by the possibilities that are created by using a camera as a research tool. Safar is therefore an good example of how underlying structures can be made visible through the telling of individual stories.
After working as a visual artist and teacher for nearly ten years, Kyra went on to study Anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She wrote her master’s thesis on the contradictions encountered in daily life for refugees living in protracted displacement in Greece, based on fieldwork conducted in a camp near Athens. For the short film Safar, she built on this pre-existing knowledge of this topic and her relationships in the field in order to dive further into the refugees’ experiences, and this time explored them through the lens of a visual ethnography.