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Drowned Syrian refugee inspires ‘Sea Sorrow’

LONDON: Actress Vanessa Redgrave made her directing debut in London on Tuesday with a film about refugees, featuring fellow stage stars Ralph Fiennes and Emma Thompson.
“Sea Sorrow” recounts life for refugees fleeing European war zones throughout the last century and aims to have an impact on viewers.
“We all get tired, we’ve got to be reminded of the deeper things that make it worthwhile to live and to help others, and that’s really why we made this film,” Redgrave, 79, told the Press Association. The Oscar-winning actress filmed “Sea Sorrow” in countries including France, Greece, Italy and Lebanon, beginning the project after an image of a Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach went viral.
“First and foremost it was my horror at the fact so many refugees were dying who should have been given safe passage, and could have been given safe passage,” she said.
“I thought of it before but when the little boy Alan Kurdi was found washed up, that was the moment that said ‘get going, get started’.”
Nearly 12,000 people have died or gone missing crossing the Mediterranean Sea since the start of 2014, according to figures from the UN refugee agency.
After a peak of more than one million sea arrivals in Europe in 2015, so far this year more than 350,000 people have made the crossing.
“Sea Sorrow” is produced by Redgrave and her son Carlo Nero, who said it had particular significance at Christmas.
“We have to remember that the Christmas celebration in the religious sense is about persecution and a family of refugees in the Middle East — that is the story and it is our story,” he said.