Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean’s Chagos archipelago, is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Until 1965 it was home to the Chagossians, an aboriginal people who are subjects of the British Crown.
That year, in a secret Cold War deal with the U.S., the U.K. government illegally shipped the inhabitants to other islands in the region, and the U.S. built one of its largest, yet least known, military bases.
Until the fall of 2000, the Chagossians lived like forgotten outcasts, fighting to win the right to return. In November of that year, a High Court of Justice in London finally agreed their rights had been transgressed.
However, their struggle is far from over, especially in light of the U.S.-led war on terror. Planes such as the B-2 ‘Stealth’ bomber used in both Iraq and Afghanistan are stationed on the island, and Washington is not prepared to budge.
In the 90-minute one-off, Once Upon An Island, Diego Garcia, Paris-based Filao Films will recount the land-claim issue. In particular, it will focus on events since 2000, including an occupation of the British embassy in Mauritius (where most Chagossians live today) in 2002 and their ongoing bids for financial compensation from the U.K. and U.S. governments.
With a budget of approximately †700,000 (us$890,000) production is set to wrap by next December.
Coproducers include France 2, the EU’s Media Plus program and the Australian Film Commission. MS