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“Rationality is wildly over played… The heart is where your real thinking comes.”

Jon Castle

The second documentary in Skye Fitzgerald’s Refugee Trilogy, Lifeboat tells the story of the search-and-rescue missions conducted by Captain Jon Castle, a Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior, and his team to save Libyan refugees crossing the Mediterranean. Filmed aboard the Sea-Watch vessel, viewers get an inside look at what goes into a mission and the conditions in which the volunteers find the refugees. They work tirelessly to rescue everyone they can. These refugees are suffering from hunger, dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion. A medical team on board helps treat the ill and to gather the dead. 

The documentary also shines a spotlight on the refugees themselves. As Jon Castle wisely notes in the film, the closer you get to the problem the more you can sympathize. You stop seeing these refugees as an anonymous group of people and you start seeing them as individuals. In Lifeboat, we get to hear from refugees themselves, who were kidnapped from either Cameroon or Cote D’Ivoire, sold and enslaved in Libya.

Lifeboat is a harrowing documentary but necessary viewing. It’s these stories that help us understand in a way that watching or reading the news cannot. These refugees come from dire situations and are willing to endure a dangerous journey for the chance at a better life. The film also serves as a tribute to Jon Castle himself who passed away the year the film was released.

Lifeboat is nominated for a 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). 

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