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.
· Many the scenes in the film were constructed (acted, cut and mixed to give certain misleading impressions…etc)
· The filmmakers have included in the film footage shot by an American cameraman called Carlos Gonzales without his permission. This is a breach of copyrights. The filmmakers have now been forced to delete that part of the film.
· Saharawis involved in the film have testified that they were given money to speak:
· Screen Australia has admitted that it has no release (consent) signed or otherwise from the Saharawis involved in the film.
· There is also a serious issue regarding the involvement of the Moroccan regime in the documentary and its use of the film as propaganda tool to harm the Saharawi struggle for freedom and self-determination.
· Ursula Aboubakar an UNHCR official included in the film has confirmed that “it was never ever stated by me, as UNHCR staff in the film, that slavery exist in the camps” and added “In the film they used whatever they want, cut sentences, took them out of context, just to proof what they wanted to hear.”
The following are some interesting links to media coverage of the “Stolen” controversy: