On Easter 2002, over a dozen refugees escaped the remote Woomera Detention Centre in the heart of the Australian desert. The story follows one of these escapees, a young Afghani named AZIZ after the breakout as he lives moment to moment as a fugitive in Australia coupled with flashbacks of his journey across the ocean and living inside the desert detention centre. Although he has escaped prison, he is still not free. Unable to work, study or plan for the future, he realises that only when he stops running and confronts the forces that seek to imprison him will he achieve true freedom.


THE FREE WORLD is based on the dramatic true story of a young refugee who escaped from the Woomera Detention Centre and lived on the run as a fugitive in the community for over three years.

The screenwriter Timothy Parish says: “I was present at the Easter 2002 protests at Woomera Detention Centre after travelling to make a documentary for a community TV show in Melbourne. The experience fundamentally changed my perspective of Australia, and the social injustice of incarcerating asylum seekers for indefinite periods of time – people who had only just escaped punishment in their own countries.

This story is intended to humanise the plight of asylum seekers and the lengths that anyone would go to to escape from torture or oppression.  But it is also a meditation on the concept of freedom
and how it canbe taken for granted by those living in the so call ‘free world’. While living under an authoritarian regime, as an asylum seeker or on the run as a fugitive from the law – where is freedom?”


‘The Free World’ is currently in development with the support of Screen Territory with its first draft completed in 2015. Undergrowth Productions is currently looking for production partners to work with in taking the project toward production.

To enquire about reading a copy of the screenplay, please write to:

Undergrowth Artistic Director:


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