Chiara Towne

Chiara Towne is a filmmaker and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. She has been documenting migration in the Mediterranean since 2017, most recently with her short Channel 16.

Like the marine radio frequency from which it takes its name, Channel 16 stitches together lives at sea from the perspectives both of the air and of the water. The latter vantage, to date, has been restricted to the covert operations of European authorities

The film unfolds over the course of two and a half days, following several individuals who flee Libya across the central Mediterranean to reach Italy. At its center stands Nadine, a woman whose pregnancy saves the lives of two hundred people. Nadine narrates her voyage in her own words, supported by footage of her rescue and the voices of the NGO pilots and captains who ran the rescue operations.

To date, this vantage has been restricted to the covert operations of European authorities. The only civil actor that has been able to access to it is the four-seater airplane Seabird, belonging to the German search-and-rescue NGO Sea-Watch. The film was made with the intention of shooting the Mediterranean crossing with enough cinematic detail to illustrate its epic nature, and make it available to the world. Channel 16’s multiple perspectives tell a story about the liquidity of borders, the presence of a higher power in the face of political power’s absence, and the indomitable force of new life.