This week it was announced that powerful new film Buoyancy would be Australia’s entrant into this year’s Academy Awards. The film has generated rave reviews as it tackles the important subject of people smuggling in a gripping and well-acted way. HEAVY Cinema was recently lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk to the film’s writer/director Rodd Rathjen about how the film came together.
“A number of years ago now I was reading a report on the Thai finishing industry,” says Rathjen when i ask where the original idea for the film came from. “Within that report there were a lot of survivor accounts and I was pretty blown away with what I was reading, especially when it came to their experiences. From there I just started to do my own research on the issue and gradually I just thought that a film would be a great way to bring their voice to the world. So I interviewed a lot of survivors myself and their experiences are pretty much what the film is.”
That leads me to ask Rathjen what the statistics are when it comes to slave labor within the Thai fishing industy. “It is pretty horrendous,” he says after a deep breath. “They are changing slowly though at the moment. The European Union issued Thailand a yellow card for their human rights violations and their forced labor practices over the last few years so Thailand were forced to bring in all these measures to try and change the fishing industry and stop the process of human trafficking and forced labor out on the water, but the stars are pretty damming when it comes to the number of boys and men that go away and get trafficked and tricked compared to the amount that make it back to countries like Cambodia.”
You can listen to our full interview with Rodd Rathjen on this page.
Buoyancy is in select cinemas now.