Welcome to Kastellorizo: population 300. The tiny speck of rock is the closest Greek island to Turkey, making it a stop-off point for refugees fleeing Syria as they make their way to Europe.
New York-based filmmaker Alexandra Liveris – who has family on the island – captured the story on a nine-day shoot in the fall of 2015, at the height of the migrant crisis, when Kastellorizo’s refuges outnumbered the locals two-to-one.
Beautifully shot, the film focuses on one Australian-Greek couple who turn their gift shop into a donations center, and a young refugee named Layla who struggles to keep her fears under control as she tries to make it to a country that will give her asylum.
“Kastellorizo, I was hoping, could be a microcosm of what was going on at-large in Europe,” Liveris said. “My purpose in telling this story was to humanize the experience. It’s not to parse out ‘this is the Syrian experience’ and ‘this is the Greek experience,’ but to try to find a common place in both stories.”
Watch the full video here