Borgen star Sidse Babett Knudsen is to appear in a new film about a group of Syrian refugees living on a remote Scottish island which is being made in the Outer Hebrides.
Real-life refugees who have relocated to Scotland are being given roles in Limbo alongside its international cast.
It is being made by an award-winning Scottish filmmaker who spent a year living in Syria before the war broke out.
Edinburgh-born Ben Sharrock’s film is being backed by the new Screen Scotland agency, along with Film 4 and the BFI. It is being shot in various locations on North Uist, South Uist and Berneray for the next five weeks.
Sharrock’s feature-length debut, Pikadero, a comedy drama set against the background of Spain’s economic crisis, was named best British film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
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Sharrack, who studied Arabic and politics at Edinburgh University, spent a year in Syrian capital Damascus as part of his studies. Limbo focuses on a young Syrian musician burdened down by the weight of his grandfather’s oud instrument, which he has carried from his homeland. Although refugees are now living on the islands of Bute and Lewis as part of the UK government’s official resettlement programme, the main characters in Sharrock’s film are all waiting to see if they will be granted asylum.
He said: “The time I spent in Syria was really my starting point for this project. When things started kicking off with the refugee crisis I really wanted to write something about because of the connections I had with Syria, the people I met and the friends I made.
“I really felt there was something missing in the representations in the often extreme depictions of refugees in the British and European media.
“It seemed that the stories that were focused on were the most extreme.
“They would either be representations of harrowing situations refugees were in, which would make us pity them, or on the other side there would be scaremongering around them. Both were dehumanising them.
“I felt there was a point in the middle where we could relate to these people even though they were from a different part of the world.
“I wanted to write a film that was very much about that rather than about any cultural differences.
“The film is set in Scotland, but is not particular to any place. It’s a fictional island.”