Monthly Archives: June 2009

Sydney Film Festival: ‘Stolen’ documentary – media coverage

The following are some interesting links to media coverage of the “Stolen” controversy:


The “Stolen” controversy – issues and concerns

Since the screening of “Stolen” during the Sydney Film Festival on 11 June 2009, very important issues have come to light.
“Stolen” is seriously misleading in alleging slavery exists in the Saharawi refugee camps and it misuses the story of Fetim Sellami a Saharawi teacher who withdrew her consent, as have most of the other Saharawis who were filmed.
The following are some of the main problems with “Stolen”:
·        Most of the translation Hassania (local language) into English is completely wrong. Continue reading

Slaves To The Story? By Yvette Andrews

andrews-stolen.jpg26 Jun 2009
The documentary Stolen created a storm at the Sydney Film Festival when its central character claimed she had been falsely portrayed as a slave. Now, a UNHCR spokeswoman says her interview for the film was also manipulated
Fetim Sellami immediately reminded me of the strong, gracious women I had met in the Western Sahara refugee camps in 2004 when I toured there with then-president of the NSW Upper House, Meredith Burgmann. Sitting on Burgmann’s couch in inner city Glebe — where she stayed while in Sydney — Sellami chatted happily in Hassaniya with her husband and smiled at our clumsy attempts to communicate.
However, when asked about her experience with Australian filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw, her demeanour darkened…..(cont.).

Read Yvette’s article in The New Matilda >>

Fetim Sellami: ‘I am not a slave’

Tony Iltis, Green Left Weekly, 21 June 2009

Saharawi refugee and preschool teacher Fetim Sellami is a central character in the Australian documentary Stolen, a film set in the refugee camps in south-west Algeria that have been home to 165,000 Saharawi refugees since their country, Western Sahara, was invaded by Morocco in 1975.
However, when she and her husband, Baba Hocine Mahfoud, attended its June 11 premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, they did not receive red carpet treatment, despite the long distance they had travelled.

Read this article >>

Bitter dispute over Stolen documentary – ABC 7.30 report

ABC 7.30 Report
Monday, June 15, 2009 8:35 AEST

A bitter dispute has erupted over the accuracy of a taxpayer-funded feature documentary screened at the Sydney Film Festival. The film, called ‘Stolen’, features the story of Fetim Sellami and her family, who live in a refugee camp in the Algerian Sahara Desert. Fetim Sellami has been flown to Sydney by the independence movement that runs the camp, to enable her to denounce her depiction in the documentary as a slave, and the allegation that such slavery is widespread in the camps.

View Transcript >>   

Watch the story >>