Carmen Belaschk’s (Germany) film “Connected” contextualizes the numerous benefits of one of the digital age’s greatest inventions: the smartphone. Her question aims to determine the value of this device specifically for refugees fleeing war and persecution.
Communication, photography, navigation, news, social networking, shopping, gaming etc.; the smartphone embodies a useful companion by simplifying daily procedures and carrying the reputation of a luxury item, yet is an instrument taken for granted. Nevertheless, its apparently dispensable advantages become essential for people in need.
In cooperation with the private initiative swisscross.help, this documentary was filmed on the island of Lesvos across 6 days within refugee camps and among volunteers working on the beaches where refugees arrived. Belaschk was afforded the opportunity to understand a small part of the voyage these individuals were undertaking. She offers an insight into their situation on the flight to Europe with a simultaneous focus on the role of smartphones throughout the journey.
Interviews with the Syrians Rania Dghaim (on Lesvos) and Alaa Alewi, Mohamad Al Kashaam (in Germany) offer insights into their daily use of apps, GPS tracking and emergency calls.
They explain the importance of catching up with news and exchanging information, finding the best routes for escape, communicating with family, friends and supporters. Furthermore, her communications with volunteers stationed on Lesvos since September 2015, underscore the necessity of smartphone technology for both supporters and refugees alike. Her documentary “Connected” portrays this unique relationship between humans and technology amid the mass migratory movements of late.