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A cinematic, gripping and sometimes humorous look into the lives of refugees – and – ourselves.
Europe – growing ever more intolerant in its anti-immigration and refugee policies…Into this world come a group few know of: “resettled” refugees, actually invited by the government, – as well as the US born filmmaker, Miles Roston, himself the child of immigrants and refugees from World War II. For a year, he follows the dramatic story of four: Fathi – an Amazigh activist escaping death threats from Gaddafi over the course of the rebellion, Fasil – a journalist from Ethiopia sentenced to life imprisonment for condemning the fraudulent elections of 2005, Li Zhu – a Falun Gong Buddhist sentenced to prison and beatings for demonstrating against the government, and Renuka – a young woman from the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, who is one of 100,000 ethnic Nepalis expelled.
As each faces obstacles to integrate in their new country, they are forced into an ever more hostile climate in their new home. The Buddhist is placed into a remote traditional Christian village; the Libyan into an almost prison-like cell in an asylum centre. As the Foreign and Immigration Ministers lecture them, they struggle to learn the language, and go to everything as Dutch as they can: from Queen’s Day to the Keukenhof flowers, from seeing Vermeer’s paintings to visiting the Anne Frank House, an experience eerily familiar. They even confront a right wing anti-immigration voter. As they struggle to reunite with their families, and even have children in the Netherlands, they also discover how much their adopted home – and Europe – are economically still supporting the very same regimes they fled, while publicly claiming to stand for human rights.
Visceral, moving, humorous and confronting, “Refugees: Who Needs Them>” challenges our assumptions, as the European Commission itself admits the continent needs at least 50 million migrants soon in order to survive economically in the future. Meanwhile, Fathi, Fasil, Li Zhu, and Renuka persist in their struggle – Renuka finally getting into university to help her parents, Li Zhu confronting the Vice President of the European Union about genocide in China, Fathi becoming President of the World Amazigh Congress, and Fasil even setting up his own television station from Amsterdam to broadcast the only independent news into Ethiopia. Filmed in HD in locations including China, Africa, and across the Netherlands and Europe,Refugees:Who Needs is a cinematic, and gripping insight into the lives of refugees – and as importantly – ourselves.