University of Leicester hosts film on Calais children

Posted by ap507 at May 17, 2018 09:34 AM |
The film screening will be followed by a question and answer session and panel discussion with filmmaker Sue Clayton, two young adults who came to the UK as unaccompanied minors and a University of Leicester researcher

Issued by University of Leicester on 17 May 2018

Images of film poster and filmmaker Sue Clayton available here (credit: Sue Clayton):

“Calais Children: a Case to Answer”, a film which highlights the plight of almost 2,000 lone children who were in the Calais ‘Jungle’ when it was burnt down at the end of 2016, will be screened in the Attenborough Film Theatre at the University of Leicester on Monday 21 May 2018, starting at 6pm. 

The screening is being hosted by the Leicester Migration Network and the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester in association with CivicLeicester and De Montfort University's School of Applied Social Sciences.

The film will be followed by a question and answer session and discussion with the filmmaker, Sue Clayton; two young adults who came to the UK as unaccompanied minors; and Dr Gaja Maestri, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester. 

The discussion will be chaired by Alison Smith, who is currently completing Clinical Psychology training at the University of Leicester, and who has done research that involved interviewing young men from Afghanistan about their experiences seeking asylum in the UK as unaccompanied minors.

Dr Maria Rovisco, who organised the film screening and is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, said: “Calais Children" offers a harrowing portrait of the perils faced by the many unaccompanied minors who lived in the Calais refugee camp known as the Jungle, but also the struggle to secure their future in the UK under the Dubs Agreement. The film can be seen both as an indictment of the inhumane British asylum system and a powerful tool of protest and political change.”

Deborah Hadwin, who co-organised the event and is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at De Montfort University, said: “There are estimated to be approximately 98,000 unaccompanied minors in Europe, of those many arguably have a claim to come to the UK to join their relatives. This film explores the harsh reality of this for a group of young people alone in France when the camp in Calais was closed.”

Feature and documentary filmmaker Sue Clayton said: “I was shocked by how these children were being treated in France - especially as I believed they had a legal case for UK protection. I brought out a team of human rights lawyers, and we have since taken the Home Office to the High Court, with this film as my witness statement.  

“I hope the film will encourage more people to take up the cause for these young people by writing about what is happening to them on social media and in letters and emails to MPs.

“I also hope the film will encourage people to do all they can to fight the "hostile environment" which the government has put in place and which is making life extremely difficult for people who are perceived to be migrants.”

The film screening is free and open to all. There will be a voluntary collection which will go to Sue Clayton and her team for use in ongoing work with the young people in the film, and others.


Notes to editors:

1. For more information contact:

Dr Maria Rovisco: 

Deborah Hadwin: 

Sue Clayton: 

2. Sue Clayton is a feature and documentary filmmaker. She has worked on various child and youth asylum projects over 15 years, consulting and producing news stories for ITV and BBC. Her prior award-winning independent film “Hamedullah: The Road Home” ( has been screened at over 200 activist and debate events, and is regularly shown in UK Immigration Courts and in the Upper Tribunal cases as evidence that forced removal of young people to Kabul is not, as the Home Office says, safe. Sue Clayton has also created an archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK( and works with an ESRC-funded research team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers ( She is also Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths University of London.

3. Source of attached photos: Sue Clayton

4. Based at the University of Leicester, the Leicester Migration Network brings together migration scholars, activists, and people affected by issues around migration. The network is one of the most exciting and engaging in Leicester and beyond:

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