Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

USA, 1999, 119 min

Shown in 2000


Shari Robertson, Michael Camerini
Shari Robertson, Michael Camerini
Michael Camerini
Karen Schmeer, Suzanne Pancrazi


The Epidavros Project, 141 West 28th St. #6B, New York, NY 10001. FAX: 212-594-0101. EMAIL: info@wellfoundedfear.org
gga award
Certificate of Merit, Current Events
Well-Founded Fear

Nearly every day in immigration offices around the United States, men and women from around the globe seek political asylum and come face-to-face with immigration officers who are responsible for deciding their fates. Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini go behind closed doors to present an impressively thoughtful, shocking and closeup look at the American political asylum system, revealing how this nation of immigrants defines its human rights obligations. Using a fluid, nonintrusive camera style, the codirectors—the first filmmakers ever allowed to document asylum proceedings—have gathered a compelling array of confidential interviews with asylum officers, refugees and translators to investigate a process that one officer compares to Russian roulette. Throughout the documentary, refugees from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America tell stories of torture and persecution and explain why they fear deportation to their homelands. Candid interviews with asylum officers reveal the inner workings of a flawed, arbitrary system in which subjectivity plays a decisive hand in how applications are evaluated. Well-Founded Fear is a gripping, memorable documentary that maintains a subtle flow of evenhanded inquiry and observation, which, in itself, is an awesome achievement.

—Julia Segrove-Jaurigui