The Host Director's Notes | Zoe Lafferty

Director Zoe Lafferty was inspired to direct  The Host after meeting individuals affected by the European refugee crisis. 

In 2015, I got a call from a photographer friend. He was in Budapest, his second summer travelling across Europe, from Greece to Macedonia, Serbia to Hungary, Austria to Germany – following the journeys of refugees.

Shocked by what he told me, I took a flight and joined him. For the next month we would spend the days and nights between Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary on the borders and train lines, in railway stations and forests, meeting men, women and children travelling halfway across the world in search of safety. The journey these people took was brutal, and any acts of kindness from locals and activists would be overshadowed by violent police and their dogs, helicopters and their terrifying search lights, far-right groups aggressively protesting and European governments’ murky responses to people in desperate situations. Those fleeing war would ask me what my country was doing to help … ‘Nothing’ was the only response I could give.

When I got back to the UK, I joined the outcry: how could my government turn its back on these vulnerable people? How could they not be deemed worthy of a compassionate response?

At its best, the Government met these cries with quiet disdain and I realised that my hopes for progressive action were naïve. Their rejection of responsibility for vulnerable people was nothing new: a ‘survival of the richest’ attitude had been destroying the lives of people across Britain for years. A system and its policies that put money and power ahead of people, ahead of families, ahead of communities. 

Why would they care about vulnerable people abroad if they don’t care about their citizens at home?

The Host explores two people from opposite sides of the world who come together through unexpected circumstances and form a bond. It explores the systems of oppression that displace people, breaking up families and destroying communities – whether that is thousands of miles away in Syria or down the road in Croydon. Through the stories of two young people who form a connection in difficult circumstances and find strength in unity, The Host takes a stand against the ‘divided’ narrative.

01-03 Feb | St James's Church, Piccadilly | Book now

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