Recommended Films

Well-Founded Fear (2000)

Feature documentary that takes an in-depth look at the decision-making process behind asylum cases decided by the federal U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS, now USCIS) in the New York City area. Applicants must demonstrate a “well-founded fear” of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; the adjudicating immigration officers weigh their cases and either make a decision or refer the case for hearing by an immigration judge.

Lost Boys of Sudan (2003)

Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary that recounts the story of a group of Sudanese boys who flee the war’s destruction, arrive at a refugee camp in Kenya, and are then resettled in the U.S. Faced with the demands of a new and strange culture in suburban America, they follow different paths and make difficult choices in the attempt to support themselves, find work, and pursue the elusive dream of education.

Lumo (2007)

A moving, feature-length documentary that profiles a young woman from southern DRC who has survived a brutal attack by marauding militia members. The traumatic rape has left Lumo with a fistula— a condition that has rendered her incontinent and threatens her ability to give birth in the future. Rejected by her fiancé and cast aside by her family, she finds her way to a hospital that provides specialized treatment for rape survivors.

Special Flight (2011)

An extraordinary and moving documentary filmed inside the Frambois detention center in Switzerland—a country that provides asylum status to fewer than 12% of those who apply for it. The inmates featured are among the thousands of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants imprisoned without charge or trial and facing deportation to their native countries, where they fear repression or even death.

The Quilted Conscience (2013)

A lively and moving documentary on the experiences and aspirations of refugee children living with their resettled families in central Nebraska, focusing in particular on sisters from South Sudan who become involved with a culture-blend fabric-art project with local residents. The subjects of the students’ quilt panels are Dreams & Memories – showing the girls’ memories of Africa and their dreams of America.