Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies, Multicultural Studies, Sociology, Immigration, and Refugees
Lifeboat showcases refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, despite a high probability of drowning. With few resources but certain that civil society must intervene, volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts.
In a political environment increasingly hostile to immigrants and refugees, documenting and showcasing the real-life predicament of those fleeing war and oppression is more vital and important than ever. In a real-life context with dire consequences, Lifeboat puts a human face on one of the world's greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way.
Academy Award Nominee, Emmy Nominee
IDA Documentary Awards 2018 - Best Short Nominee
WINNER - Mountainfilm 2018
Special Jury Award - BENDFILM
WINNER - Woodstock Film Festival
Best Documentary Short Film - Portland International 2019
WINNER - SIMA 2019
WINNER - Traverse City Film Festival
"There is a beauty to the composition of shots in Lifeboat—the tranquil yet menacing waters; a boat full of refugees in the distance, neatly framed by the railings of the Sea-Watch; the wails of anguished women as they are ferried to the rescue ship." - IDA Review
“'Lifeboat' captures, up close, the experience of motoring out, encountering vessels packed with migrants, distributing life jackets, helping migrants aboard, and providing them with medical care, water, and space to rest before transferring them to boats bound for Europe. Once you see it, you won’t forget it." - The New Yorker
Based in Portland, Oregon, Fitzgerald has collaborated with or received support from the Sundance Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department and the Paul Robeson Fund among others for his independent documentary work.
In 2006 Skye Fitzgerald was named a Fulbright Research Scholar in order to research and produce the film Bombhunters, which provided an unsettling glimpse into the effects of unexploded ordnance on Cambodian people. Fitzgerald’s most recent film, 50 Feet from Syria, was shortlisted for the 88th Academy Awards in the Documentary Short Subject category.