#NakedIsland “Detention” #NFB Animated Micro-short

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“Detention” is an animated micro-short I co-directed with animator David Seitz. This piece is part of an #NFB initiative called Naked Island. I was inspired by the story of Alpha and Glory Anawa. Glory fled certain violence in Cameroon and gave birth to Alpha in Toronto. Alpha then spent the first two years of his life in an immigration detention centre in Etobicoke, Ontario. The facility is much like a prison. His first words were “radio check.” “Radio check” was a phrase he heard everyday as guards changed shift. In 2015, Alpha and Glory were deported back to Cameroon and went into hiding. We don’t know where they are now.

Despite recommendations from the UN, Canada often holds immigration detainees arbitrarily and indefinitely for over 90 days. It is illegal in the US and the EU to detain undocumented migrants for over 90 days. In the last decade, over 87,000 people have been held in Canada’s detention facilities. Many of these individuals are held in Canada’s maximum security prisons. Some have been held for years at a time, some up to a decade. Since 2000, at least 15 people have died while in detention. The facility in Etobicoke also holds minors. Holding children in prison-like facilities has been proven to have long lasting psychological impacts. There is, in fact, a playground at the facility – shielded from the world outside by fence, after fence, after fence.

David’s stunning animation is based on photos of the Etobicoke facility. The blue basketball also came from the photos our photographer captured. We decided to use the ball in the piece to honour whoever it was on the other side of the wall that day.

Please visit the End Immigration Detention Network and No One Is Illegal sites for more info on Immigration Detention in Canada.

Suggested reading: this in-depth article from Maclean’s on Alpha and Glory, this article from Global on Detention of Children in Canada, and this opinion piece published in the Vancouver Sun.

To view a playlist of the #NakedIsland animated micro-shorts:


#EndImmigrationDetention #CanadaBorderServicesAgency #NakedIsland  #Detention #AlphaAnawa #GloryAnawa


Naked Island – Detention from National Film Board of Canada on Vimeo.