‘Calais: Welcome to the Jungle’ is a multilayered and experimental documentary that address the complexities of the current migration crisis. The ‘Jungle’ is a filthy slum on the outskirts of the French port city of Calais. 5000 Refugees and migrants are stranded here in a desperate attempt to cross illegally cross into the UK, just 20 miles across the channel. They try their luck by train, truck, boat or even swimming. Some don’t survive their passage. This makeshift refugee-camp looks like a third world bidonville and is a microcosm that reflects the enormous global challenges of migration.
Engels and Voeten followed this bidonville right in the heart of Europe from September 2015 till March 2016, when the Jungle was dismantled by the authorities. Through the media, when have already been presented with the heartbreaking stories of the migrants homelands and their harrowing tales of their journeys to the West. That is why the makers decided to focus on the context and the reaction of the environment. How do the authorities, aid workers, locals and the refugees themselves try to find a way out of this dead end? And what role does the media play in the increasingly polarized migration-debate ? Voeten and Engels were in January 2016 attacked by three migrants with a knife. This incident as well as the media storm that developed after the footage was put online, is incorporated in the doc. In March 2016, among increasing tensions, the Jungle was evacuated and largely destroyed. This end, as well as less savory sides of the Jungle was also extensively covered.
Engels and Voeten are currently working on a documentary on rituals in the Mexican Drug war. They will show a sneak preview and tell about their ongoing project.