Q&A tour set for Genna Chanelle Hayes’ new refugee drama, Akoni.

Kit Esuruoso in Akoni.

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Genna Chanelle Hayes is set to embark on a Q&A tour to promote her new refugee drama, Akoni.

Akoni is the story of a homeless refugee who struggles to integrate into Australian society after escaping conflict in his homeland, until he meets a woman who opens her home, and ultimately heart, to him.

Akoni is Hayes’ feature directorial debut and she hopes to use film to raise awareness of human rights issues and institutional racism facing close to 100 million refugees globally.

The labour of love, which saw Hayes produce across Australia, Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, will premiere with a series of Q&A events around the country throughout Refugee Week (19 – 25 June).

UK actor and rising star of London’s West End, Kit Esuruoso takes the titular role for which he was recently nominated for Best Actor by the Australian Screen and Industry Network Awards, with Hayes playing alongside him in the role of Violet. Other actors to feature include Nigerian actress Jemima Osunde (The Delivery Boy), Simon Elrahi (Janet King), Pippa Grandison (Book Week) and Mark Coles Smith who will be seen next in Mystery Road: Origins.

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“When I first wrote Akoni in 2017, there were 67 million globally displaced,” says Hayes. “Cut to now, there are over 100 million people seeking a safe place to live. These numbers and this trajectory is not only beyond imaginable, but also exactly where we find ourselves today. What I hope for most upon the release of “AKONI” is that it encourages a more empathic and compassionate response to displaced persons globally, and contributes to the re-building of community through eliminating the idea of “other” by creating connection and understanding among us all.”

Joining Hayes to raise awareness during World Refugee Week is Alison Battisson, the director principal and founder of charitable law firm Human Rights for All, which is solely focused on obtaining liberty for asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people held in Australian immigration prisons.

The event’s aim is to drive fundraising to support freeing those who continue to be trapped inside of Australian detention centres, with a portion of its national screening tour also being donated to the cause.

To find out more about Akoni and to purchase tickets for upcoming screening events, head to the facebook.com/AKONIfilm.

UPCOMING AKONI SCREENING AND Q&A EVENTS:

Thursday, June 16
South Australia
Wallis Mitcham, Adelaide at 6pm
Q&A hosted by actor Stephen Tongun with cast

Friday June 17
The Classic, Elsternwick, Victoria at 6pm
Q&A hosted by human rights activist Alison Battisson with cast

Saturday June 18
Regent Cinemas, Ballarat, Victoria at 3.30pm
Q&A with the cast 

Sunday June 19
Cinema Nova, Victoria 3.30pm
Q&A hosted by Aminata Conteh-Biger with cast
Lido Cinema, Victoria 7.00pm
Q&A hosted by Aminata Conteh-Biger with cast

Monday June 20
Randwick Ritz Cinema, Sydney from 5.45pm
A conversation with human rights activist Alison Battison, former sex slave and refugee Aminata Conteh-Biger, and filmmaker Genna Chanelle Hayes

Tuesday June 21
The State Cinema, Hobart 5.30pm
Q&A with the cast

Saturday June 25
United Cinemas, Avalon NSW from 5pm
Q&A with the cast

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