ALMOST every day we see in often horrific clarity the struggle of refugees fleeing from their homes because of war, famine and persecution. But what sort of lasting impact does it truly have when, ultimately, it becomes just another news story in an endless cycle?

That’s a difficult question asked by this powerful documentary from director Orban Wallace, one that not only gives us an intimate view of the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis in particular but effectively turns the cameras on the reporters whose job it is to cover it.

That twin approach works wonders to give a unique perspective from other similar documentaries. Although not quite as epic in scope as Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow from last year, it nevertheless paints an empathetic portrait of what happened and continues to happen now.

It would have been easy for it to go down the road of painting the reporters and photographers as villains who are there only for shocking images that grab attention for the length of a five-minute news segment. But Wallace’s film has far more nuanced facets to it than that.

We get to go behind-the-scenes to see what is never shown on-camera, the in-between moments that demonstrate the kinds of dedication and personal involvement it takes. We also get to see how the crisis is handled in various countries via TV news footage peppered throughout, painting a fascinating portrait of how perception is shaped throughout the world depending on culture and proximity.

It uses the journalism angle to ask fascinating questions about the idea of voyeurism, impartiality and professional obligation – can journalistic integrity trump simplicity and actually work towards making an impact beyond merely looking at the images presented?

Orban juggles the journalistic side of the story with that of the refugees themselves. He frames their arduous journeys with heart-breaking on-route interviews as he works his way up northern Europe, including much time spent with a mother separated from her family who are still in Syria, starkly reminding us that these are not fodder for endless debating or socio-economic/political point-scoring but real people seeking a better life.

You can feel the passion and sincerity in the way the director guides us through something that most of us could never imagine going through.

We only experience it through headlines and footage of refugee boats and mass on-foot migration presented on the evening news before we move on to the next story about a Presidential tweet storm or another Royal baby. And that’s the point. We need to look beyond the news, more often.