Refugee Support Services


This event is co-hosted by Refugee Week partners the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) and Settlement Services International (SSI).

SSI website logo           RW logo colour 1


'Beyond Refuge' - a series of captivating cinema poems and photo stories created by CuriousWorks and six artists who share asylum seeker and refugee experiences.  

RCOA and event partner SSI will be screening these short films online for one day only during Refugee Week. Join us on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Read more about each short film in detail further below. 

Sally arrives in Australia to begin a new life with Abraham, full of hope; as time passes, carelessness casts its long, winter shadow. Sally and Abraham are a young couple, full of hope. Sally has come from her home country to live in suburban Sydney with Abraham. Taking a huge leap of faith, with the promise of love, they begin their life together.  

As times presses on, with work, old habits and obligations, the couple begin to sleep walk through their lives. One day Sally awakes, startled, and discovers that all the colour has drained from their home. They have become old. In a waking, melancholy dream, the couple stumble and try to repair the wreckage of carelessness.  

This romantic film hits a nerve with many of us; recognizing the easy slide into half-light when we take the promise of love for granted. 



Director/Writer: Ali Al Azeez 
Producer: Caitlin Newton-Broad 
Script Consultant & Continuity: Miranda Aguilar 
Director of Photography: Ali Al Azeez 
Music: Ali Gouya 
Design: Payam Gouya 
Performers: Rowena Assaad and Firdaws Adelpour 
Executive Producer: CuriousWorks 


Photographer Elham BehinAein, arrived in Australia two years ago, herself a refugee from Iran. With the support of CORE Community Services and networks in Fairfield, Elham began a process of reaching out to women, open to share their stories of migration and take part in portraiture sittings, in their homes and out in the streets. Many women were interested but only two were confident to create images for the public. Neli and Iman shared their very different experiences of home-making and belonging. 



Photographer/ Creator: Elham BehinAein 

Community Consultant: Rowena Assaad 

Script Consultant: Mireille Juchau  

Music: Ali GouyaMixing: Michael Moebus 

Storytellers: Neli and Iman 

Executive Producer: CuriousWorks 

A one shot, twelve minute film about a day in the life of an Ahwazi asylum seeker family, surviving in Australia. 

Mohamed is ten years old. Raghad, his sister, is eleven. They are Ahwazi asylum seekers, living with their father in Liverpool, Sydney. These children have grown up without their mother, brother or extended family who are all back in Iran. Since arriving by boat with their father seven years ago, they struggled to make a home however they can while fighting to unite their family. 

We meet these young people on their way home from school. They are racing back to check on their father, who is gravely unwell. As the action unfolds, it is clear these children carry enormous responsibilities for their age, as interpreters and advocates for their family in a hostile, bureaucratic environment.  

In a world where over 65 million displaced people are seeking a new life, free from war and persecution, these two pragmatic children are left in a small apartment, face-to-face with their fate. 



Director: Ali Mousawi 

Co-Producer: Marwa Al Munajed 

Producer: Mohamed Kamel 

Script: Wesam Mojahed 

Screenplay: Jessica Phoebe Knox 

Story Consultant: Mireille Juchau 

Performers: Mohamed and Raghad Mojahed with Jessica Phoebe Knox and Wesam Mojahed 

Executive Producer: CuriousWorks 

Josselyn moved to Australia from El Salvador in 2015 when she was 14 years old. In the chaos of huge, cultural change she loses the one thing that made her feel herself the most - dancing.  

Set on the suburban streets of Mt Druitt, western Sydney, El Baile is a dance, cinematic poem about nostalgia and isolation. Josselyn once felt like a star in her home country and now, she feels stuck in her new reality. In the process of migration, she lost her passion and in turn, lost her happiness. With the help of someone she meets, she is able to return to her passion because they allowed her the space to be herself, without protest. El Baile highlights the importance of holding onto your cultural roots and passion, and society embracing acceptance for all people. 



Director/Writer: Daisy Montalvo 

Producer: Caitlin Newton-Broad 

Director of Photography: Ali Al Azeez 

Assistant Producer/Continuity: Jesica Montalvo 

Music: Lesley Araya 

Lead Performer: Josselyn Montalvo 

Performer: Wahanui Hemara 

Sound Operator/ Boom: Shawn Spina 

Camera Assistant: Junior Montalvo 


Three friends become a family; no matter what the odds are, no matter what we have been through; we help each other, as family. Three young people hold their friendship to their heart and share a strong bond. They don’t let anything, or anyone get in their way. They spend most of their time together and they tell each other everything. Here we meet them at Bents Basin, an ancient waterhole in Western Sydney, sitting by the river watching the sunset. They head back to the camp site and sit around the fireplace, telling each other stories of the past and remembering the first day they met.  

Right here, right now, nothing else matters. 

Mahdi has his arms around the two girls, as they laugh. The friends sit by the fire place talking about their home countries, the issues and what they miss, and why they had to flee, either with or without their family. Their friendship brings together their history of seeking asylum and migration from Afghanistan, Argentina and Lebanon. This film is about the next generation of Australians, sharing friendship and solidarity. 



Director/Writer: Samia Halabi 

Producer: Caitlin Newton-Broad 

Director of Photography: Ali Al Azeez 

Music: Barbara Schefer 

Sound: Payam Gouya 

Performers: Samia Halabi, Mahdi Mohammadi & Barbara Schefer 

Executive Producer: CuriousWorks 

Editor: Samia Halabi 

Flashbacks is a short film by Curious Creator Sean Ly, documenting his parents’ journey as asylum seekers from Cambodia in the 1980s. Sean Ly goes on a journey of personal discovery to learn and record the previously unshared story of his parents – refugees from Cambodia who settled in Western Sydney in the 1980s. Through interviews as a mother and father speaking to their son, they recall past experiences and share flashbacks of displacement and resettlement.The 25-minute film includes a soundtrack with original music contributed by Channthy Kak, lead singer from the international music sensation ‘The Cambodian Space Project’. This film went on to be shown at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the 2016 Kampot Readers and Writers Festival in Cambodia. 



Told by Vanny Pin and San Ly 

Director/ Director of Photography: Sean Ly 

Sound/ Interview Advisor: Miranda Aguilar 

Second Camera: Adam McPhilbin 

Editor: Thomas Barrell 

Executive Producer: CuriousWorks  

Producers: Caitlin Newton-Broad, Guido Gonzalez 

Translation Support: Sophea Chea 

Music by The Cambodian Space Project: Song - The Boat 

Special thanks to: Rosie Dennis from UTP, Harley Stumn, Intimate Spectacle, Julien Poulson, Channthy Kak, Lina Tjoeng, Sophea Chea and Khmer Community of NSW Inc.,Vichet Chea and Savuth Men, Gary Paramanathan, Tiffany Lee Shoy, Marilyn Gallo, Manjit Uppal, Shakthi Sivanathan, Gary Spink 

Supported by: Fairfield City Council’s Social Change Through Creativity Program 

Behind the Films 

beyond refugeAli Al Azeez 

Ali Al Azeez is an award-winning Iraqi-Australian filmmaker living in Merrylands, Sydney. He has made eight short films in Iraq and Australia, including War Child (2013), which won significant attention and prizes in Iraq. This new fiction film, Calendar, tells a familiar story about love and its losses. For Ali, this film is a wake-up call to take care of the ones we love and always smell the roses! 


Elham BehinAein  

Elham is a photographer, graduate from Ultimo TAFE’s Photomedia Diploma course and agricultural scientist. She has previously shown work at Peacock Gallery, Auburn and has been a finalist in several photographic competitions. Elham wants this work to focus on the strength of women, as they so often carry responsibility for children, leading the whole family through the settlement process. 


Ali Mousawi 

Ali Mousawi is an Ahwazi filmmaker living in Liverpool, Sydney as an asylum seeker. He has made two highly regarded documentaries and works as a freelance photographer in Sydney. His first narrative fiction film attempts to tell a complex story in one shot, with 12 minutes of unrelenting cinema focused on a family’s real story as asylum seekers in Australia. 


Daisy Montalvo

Daisy is a filmmaker from Mt Druitt, Western Sydney. In 2017, she filmed and directed a documentary called Broadening Horizons, where she went to Tasmania to film four young women from Mt Druitt on a six-day hike in the Overland Track.  

In 2018, she released Western Sydney’s first telenovela. Las Rosas, directed and co-written by Montalvo, is a six-episode web series following the story of two Latina sisters as they navigate through class, culture, and womanhood. The story unfolds on the eve of the younger sister’s fifteenth birthday. Currently, Montalvo works with PYT Fairfield and CuriousWorks, whilst developing her next independent project. 


Samia Halabi Artist Image 2
Samia Halabi 

Samia is from South Western Sydney and began her career in the film industry six years ago. Filmmaking is her passion, and in particular, Samia loves telling stories in and about Western Sydney.   

Samia has completed her Advanced Diploma in Screen & Media and has constantly worked in various film production roles. In 2015, Samia joined CuriousWorks, a not-for-profit community arts and media company, where she has worked on multiple projects and workshops from 2015 to the present.   

In 2018 Samia wrote and directed her first short film, Tip of My Tongue, part of a bigger project that Samia is currently working on. In 2017, she worked alongside David Field and George Basha on the feature The Combination Redemption, which was released in cinemas in February 2019. 


Sean Ly

Sean joined the CuriousWorks Film Club in 2013 and became a Curious Creator a year later. That giving him the opportunity to develop his filmmaking skills through key production roles on the feature film "Riz" and online documentary series "Meet+Eat". He is now taking his next steps as an independent artist and cultural leader.   

He has become a community development worker for Fairfield City Council and is writing his first film as part of the 'Beyond Refuge' project. The film captures the story of his parents fleeing Cambodia as refugees to Australia.  

"I want to write stories from my community, in my own words. My parents told me what they wanted to say about their journey from Cambodia, and suddenly the way the story should be told fell into place. I am ready." 


Contact us 

Tel: 02 8799 6700 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.