Political Asylum in the United States:

Who deserves it? Who gets it? Who decides?


"A compassionate but shocking portrait of the way a nation of immigrants defines its human-rights obligations, the film records confidential conversations between asylum officers, lawyers, translators, and refugees. It is the task of the asylum officer to identify where there exists a “well-founded fear” that an applicant’s life may be placed in jeopardy by deportation. But with thousands of applicants, as many fraudulent as legitimate, the officers acknowledge that truth and justice are elusive and that subjectivity plays a decisive hand in their evaluations... In a film marked by exquisite production values and striking intelligence, the filmmakers have dedicated themselves to an evenhanded empathy and critique of officials and refugees alike. What they argue is that any process where life becomes a story, a man becomes a God, and justice becomes a lottery is an imperfect one." – Rebecca Yeldham, Sundance Film Festival

Well-Founded Fear premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000, and opened the season on PBS' distinguished POV series. Later it was broadcast again on CNN and CNN International.

The film is now 15 years old, and still in high demand for documentary revivals, law schools, legal firms and clinics all over the world to gain insight into the US Asylum process. It is a mainstay in the training of US Asylum Officers and used by Immigration Court judges.

There are also two companion works, "Tales from Real Life" (80 MIN) and "Practicing Asylum Law" (95 MIN).


The Epidavros Project