Claudia Karvan, Al Clarke, members of the Screen Australia Board, you say I pose a risk to SA staff. Owing to your duty of care, you say, you cannot allow SA staff to meet with or communicate with me. You refuse to provide me with any evidence that I pose a risk; that I have engaged in ‘highly offensive conduct’. The reason is simple. There is none. And you know it. Your ban is a fatwa; punishment for a critic; a warning to other filmmakers.
Monday, May 6, 2013
A filmic adventure with a woman on the run from the FBI, Interpol and the Australian Federal Police
The phone rang. It was a friend wanting to know if I would be prepared to take care of a mother and child on the run from the FBI, Interpol and the Australian Federal Police. An emergency, I was told.
Two weeks later mother and daughter were found - by the dad, Brozzi, who had been looking for them for 10 years. He had a current affairs team with him - Today Tonight.
Fugitive mum Camilla Ellefsen Lunetta free to leave country
Two weeks ago documentary filmmaker James Ricketson had offered Ms Ellefsen Lunetta and Reya - now known as Zia and Layla - a place to stay as a favour to a friend who said the pair was "in a crisis".
"I didn't know what their names were or anything about the drama they were involved in," he said.
"The following day I met the mother and child and ... was told enough of the story to be able to say 'come and stay at my house for a few days while we work out what needs to happen next'.
"In the meantime I got on the internet and found out a whole lot of stuff that I didn't know before about Brozzi's side of the story."
Brozzi Lunetta with daughter Reya before she was abducted. Picture: supplied.
Ricketson then hatched a plan to bring about a resolution.
"It became apparent very early on that Zia was spending a lot of time on the telephone to Norway talking to lawyers, the Attorney-General's department and all sorts of people with a view to going back to Norway to try to sort out the problems that she had created as a result of her abduction of Layla," he said.
"Then through a fake email address I made contact with Brozzi because I was hoping - as I knew that he wanted them to go back to Norway and I knew that she wanted to go back to Norway - that maybe there was some possibility I could act as a sort of broker.
"Next thing I know there's a TV crew at the front door so then the whole plan was cemented."
Camilla Ellefsen Lunetta and Reya on April 24, 2013. Picture: Today Tonight.
Ricketson said Ms Ellefsen Lunetta would have “loved this drama to have been over much earlier than it was".
"What happened was, regardless of who was right and who was wrong a decade ago, unfortunately once Zia made the decision to take off with Reya there was no way back," he said.
"She became a gypsy on the run. The battle-lines were drawn and she couldn't afford to go back because she had all of these charges hanging over her.
"If at some point eight years ago, once she realised she'd made a mistake, it had been possible for her to get on the telephone and say 'look, I've made a mistake can we please sort this out?' she would have. The only option she had was to remain on the run.
"I think she's absolutely delighted, in a way, that all this has happened and that now she can go back to Norway and pursue her musical career because she's a very talented musician."
Camilla Ellefsen Lunetta in 2002. Photo: Supplied
Both Ms Ellefsen Lunetta and Mr Lunetta allegedly opened up to Ricketson.
"I've heard both sides of the story. Camilla said that Brozzi was never violent or abusive towards her ever. Brozzi is very open about this and says that 10 years ago he had a problem with alcohol and that he has a problem with his temper. Camilla also has a very short fuse," he said.
"Brozzi said that Camilla was suffering from postpartum depression at the time that all of his happened; she insists that she wasn't and I don't pretend to know the truth. Whatever led her to make the decision, once she made the decision there was no going back on it and she's been trapped."
Ricketson said Ms Ellefsen Lunetta was a "terrific" mother to Layla, who had no idea they had been on the run from authorities for most of her life.
"On the night that all of this happened I had them in my car for two hours and Zia was explaining to Layla why this was all happening, why there was a film crew there and who this person (Brozzi) was," he said.
"She had managed to maintain this illusory world to Layla for all of this time.
"Layla had no idea that she was on the run and anything other than an ordinary girl who had to be home schooled."
Brozzi's search for his daughter Reya brought him to the Sunshine Coast in 2010. Picture: Megan Slade
Despite this, Layla quickly adjusted to her changed situation.
"(Thursday night) Layla said ‘this has got to be the weirdest day of my whole life'," he said.
"It certainly freaked her out but by the next day she had adjusted to the new state of affairs and new reality.
"She's a girl who is very interested in establishing a relationship with her biological father. She's also delighted at the idea that she's got a younger brother now (Mr Lunetta has a 10-week-old child with his new wife).
"She's one of the best adjusted 11-year-old girls I've ever met."
Mr Lunetta said his ex-wife had told his daughter about him.
"When we were in the car driving from the house (at Palm Beach) into Sydney, Camilla tapped me on the shoulder and said 'I just want you to know that she knows about you'," he said.
"She said 'it's not true (that I told her you died in a car crash). That’s just one of those lies that got out there and I couldn’t contact you to correct that lie'."
Camilla Ellefsen Lunetta and Reya in 2002. Photo: Supplied
The 40-year-old said his daughter had asked to now be known as Hira Lunetta. Hira, which means diamond in Hindi, was one of the alias names her mother gave her while they were on the run.
"My daughter is truly a special human being and Camilla deserves a lot of credit for doing such a great job of raising her under such difficult circumstances," he said.
"Any anger or resentment I might have towards Camilla serves no purpose. It's always been about our daughter and more love.
"This is truly all going to work out."
Ricketson said it was an “extraordinary" story.
"Who would have thought (last week) that this story could have had a happy ending? It's a story almost designed to have blood in the streets, blood in the gutters, AFP, FBI, Interpol, court cases, angst and so on," he said.
"That Brozzi, after his 10-year search, has given up all of his rights as a father makes him, in my mind, a hero. And he's a lovely man. I think that Camilla in her own way too is a lovely person who made a bad decision and she's had to live with the consequences of that ever since and now she wants to get back to living a normal life.
"It's a miracle that circumstances have played out the way they have and that it's possible for all three of them to get back to normal. It's almost a fairy-tale ending."
News.com.au understands Ms Ellefsen Lunetta is in talks with a television network which is attempting to secure exclusive access to her story.
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