I'm ashamed to say this, but I wasn't aware of what was happening to asylum seekers attempting to make it to Australia before seeing Chasing Asylum. On the one hand, what a perfect documentary for me then; on the other hand, how could I have not known about this horrendous, positively evil thing going on in the world?

Regardless of how much you might know about the asylum seekers, your jaw will literally drop during this documentary. You will feel sick to your stomach. You will hold back tears. You will leave feeling frustrated and ashamed (and doubly so if you happen to be Australian, ahem). Director Eva Orner has crafted an absolutely essential documentary that exposes the cruelties that the Australian government has been subjecting on asylum seekers.

There's a lot going on in Chasing Asylum. Spy-cam footage, interviews, news and archival footage, and infographics are all edited together perfectly so that it never feels like an information overload. The doc opens on Australian politician after politician supporting the ban on asylum seekers by boat—and not just supporting but proudly supporting. If you are a refugee and attempting to seek asylum in Australia and arrive by boat, you will never live in Australia. Ever. It was practically a motto they slapped on posters.

Instead, the government sent asylum seekers to detention centers on remote islands, where they lived in horrendous conditions. Many arrived not having any idea what was going on; some thought that where they were was Australia. Past social and support workers shared stories that painted a sobering picture of life in these detention centers: people lived in tent-structures behind metal fence; there was little access to food; contact with the outside world was extremely limited; self-harm was common, as was assault and rape. And fun fact: Australia is also one of the only countries in the world to hold baby and child refugees in detention centers. So now imagine all of that with kids.

Over and over, the workers spoke to the morale of the refugees and how hopeless they felt. These people are stuck in limbo. They don't know when they will be leaving—if ever—so looking to the future becomes pointless. Painful. The spy-cam footage of walls scrawled with "kill us" starts to make a lot of sense.

As the documentary progresses, it gets harder and harder to believe that the people of Australia are actually okay with what is happening. Granted, everything has been kept as hush-hush as possible (gee, can't imagine why), with the government going as far as creating legislation that would put whistleblowers in jail. Reports of assaults and riots occasionally pushed it into the news spotlight but still the government has not backed down. They are somehow okay with all of this; they can somehow sleep at night.

You must see Chasing Asylum. Not simply because it is a well-crafted, incredible exposé but because we all need to see. We need to see the Australian government for what it's doing, which is absolutely wrong, and we need to see these asylum seekers for who they are, human beings who do not deserve this.

CHASING ASYLUM, directed by Eva Orner, premiered on Thursday 6 October at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival. Go here to learn more.