The story of two lifeguards who left everything to save refugees in the open sea

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-Ok, stay calm, stay calm. Relax, relax...

The Spanish film, Mediterreaneo, directed by Marcel Barrena kicked off the Rome Film Festival. It tells the story of Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, which rescues refugees crossing onto the Greek island of Lesbos.

In 2015, two lifeguards, Oscar Camps and Gerard Canals, traveled to Lesbos after seeing a photo of Aylan, a boy who drowned on a Turkish beach while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The movie follows their trials and triumphs in creating an organization to protect refugees crossing the open sea into Europe. 

-I am going to Lesbos. We have to help the Greek lifeguards. Who's coming?
-But, what is Lesbos?
-Lesbos is a Greek island. But what about it? People are dying in the sea and we are lifeguards. Who's coming?
-Me, I'm going

The film's director had set out from the start with the goal of showing the humanitarian crisis on the big screen. Oscar Camps says he he had doubts about making a movie about the subject so as not to trivialize the situation of refugees, which deals with the lives of thousands of people. 

Founder, Proactiva Open Arms
“When they first proposed it to me, I quickly thought: once they really see the subject matter they won't be interested in it since it is a complex topic, it's difficult to understand and, at times, may even be frowned upon.”

The movie shows how the lifeguards saved the lives of nearly 200 people after a shipwreck in Lesbos in 2015. The exact death toll is still unknown. In response to the emergency, Oscar Camps founded the NGO Open Arms to rescue those that are trying to reach Europe by crossing the sea. Between 2015 and 2020, they have saved more than 60,000 people.

-Careful, careful, careful. It's punctured, it's punctured...

Founder of Proactiva Open Arm
'The film shows that if we take away the political, humanity remains. No one is going to let someone die when you know that by extending a hand you can pull them out of the water.'

The film is dedicated to those who managed to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe as well as those who lost their lives in the attempt. It is a true wake-up call for all of those unaware of this reality. 




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