FILM producer Daniel Tenni is racing against the clock recording the stories of Australia's "Enemy Aliens" interned into camps during WW II.
The 27-year-old from Perth stumbled across one of Australia's lessen known stories while at university which spurred further research and his award-winning short film Restare Uniti or We Stick Together.
Classed as "Enemy Aliens" Italian migrants and Australians with Italian heritage were put into internment camps which in some cases included farm work between 1940-45.
It was during his research that Tenni discovered his family's name on a memorial to the dark chapter of Australian history.
Tenni went home and discovered his great-grandfather had spent six months in a camp but was released after his cousin requested help on a market garden.
Growing food for the war effort was considered vitally important to the nation, Tenni said.
"I was more in shock. They were really laid back about it and said 'you never asked'. I guess it's the old-fashioned way of it and they didn't talk about it.
There were several camps across the nation including Bathurst, Hay, Cowra, Rushworth and Tatura.
Tenni says it's a story the nation needs to hear and reaction to his short film has been amazement coupled with shock."There's been a same reaction over the world – the issues of racism and immigration are universal . . . once the initial shock goes people start asking questions."
Tenni is currently working on a documentary on the topic and is interviewing survivors and searching for photos, footage and other memorabilia from the time.
He plans to make a feature film later.
"During the doco making I've been talking to survivors of these camps and getting their personal stories."The people are quite elderly they range from about 89 and one guy is 103 in WA. It is time critical and it's the last chance to record these stories."
Tenni's short film is being screened at Palace Cinema Como on Wednesday at 6pm. Tickets are $12.50 through eventix.com.au.
For more information or to get in contact with Tenni go to the Tino Films website.