Program 12: Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in AmericaDirected by Tom Shepard
It’s not easy being LGBT. Even in the most progressive places, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender can face harassment, discrimination, and even physical violence. There are many places in the world, however, where it is really hard being LGBT, as it is currently illegal in 70 countries. And in four of those countries, being LGBT is punishable by death.
Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America introduces us to four young people who have fled their homes abroad (and the persecution they faced there) in hopes of being granted asylum in the US. Junior is an HIV-positive refugee from Congo; Subhi, a Syrian refugee; and Cheyenne and Mari, a lesbian couple from Angola.
This eye-opening film powerfully captures the struggles faced by these LGBT youths. Finding housing and employment were daunting enough tasks prior to 2016, but now they find themselves in an America where the Statue of Liberty may as well be holding a “No Vacancy” sign. Hopefully, this film can illuminate the importance of understanding, compassion, and activism needed to make America a safe haven for those seeking refuge from persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
~ Christopher Roesch
Awards & Accolades
- Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary – Outfest LA LGBT Film Festival
- Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature – TLVFest Tel Aviv Int’l LGBT Film Festival
- Jury Award, Best LGBTQ Film – New York Cinematography Awards
- Official Selection – Frameline SF Int’l LGBTQ+ Film Festival
- Official Selection – Damn These Heels LGBTQ Film Festival (Salt Lake City)
- Official Selection – San Francisco International Film Festival