WOMEN IN FILM AWARD - Telluride Mountainfilm | BEST SHORT FILM - Frozen River Film FestivalImmigration & Border Studies • Refugees & Hospitality • Christian Values • Human Rights • International Studies • Politics & Policy
Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 21 minutes | Language: English, Spanish, & Cameroonian Pidgin English with English & Spanish subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director: Dia Sokol Savage | Producers: Garret Savage & Dia Sokol Savage
Every night at 6pm, just outside of Denver, Colorado, detained immigrants are legally released from an ICE facility onto unfriendly, industrial streets. Most of the men and women are asylum-seekers. They have little idea where they are and have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. WELCOME STRANGERS is a short documentary that tells the story of Sarah Jackson, a young woman who searches the streets for these immigrants and invites them as guests into her home, Casa de Paz. She is assisted by Oliver, the lead host, who was also held at the ICE facility for seven and a half months as an immigrant from West Cameroon. Sarah, Oliver, and over a thousand volunteers work to provide hospitality and help reunite the guests with their families.
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Gisèle Tanasse, University of California Berkeley
"The film does a good job of showing the full range of emotions experienced by the recently released, from relief and freedom after long detention, to fear at possibly being returned to detention, as well as the profound emotional toll that separation from family and previous traumas take on asylum seekers."
Palm Springs ShortFest Jury statement
“Welcome Strangers is a testament to the power of community, a film whose subject is a beacon, lifeline and bridge to the immigration process. This honest, relevant and inspiring story is a reminder of the human spirit and the importance of “loving thy neighbor.””
University of Denver | Elizabeth Escobedo, Associate Professor of History
“Welcome Strangers is an intimate look at what true hospitality looks like, one simple act of radical love at a time. For instructors looking to humanize the experiences of immigrants who experience detention, and to highlight the ways in which individuals can make a difference in supporting vulnerable populations, this film is an accessible, powerful teaching tool."
Winona State University | Dr. J Paul Johnson, Professor, English and Film Studies
“Welcome Strangers reminds all of us that immigration is at its core a human concern and that we can help with grace and humility."
Nicole Murad, AILA Colorado Chapter Chair; Owner, Murad Immigration Law
"The movie [Welcome Strangers] brings to light the struggles immigrants face with feeling alone and away from their families, while at the same time, shows the power of welcoming our neighbors and others in need. Dealing with these struggles, while navigating complex law, is at the heart of every immigration attorney’s work. Thank you for making this powerful film."
CU Boulder | Julia, Student, Anthropology Dept.
"I just wanted to say thank you… today’s class made me very emotional and intrigued to learn more about the asylum seeking process. I was excited for this class before, but now I am even way more excited to learn throughout the semester!"
Congregation Har Hashem | Lauren Park. Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee Chair
“Welcome Strangers... inspired our congregation to reflect upon our moral responsibility to protect refugees based upon our collective Jewish history of oppression and displacement and reaffirm our commitment to welcoming vulnerable immigrants in our own community. It informed us about the good work already being done in our community to help support refugees, and provided concrete action items so everyone could get involved. Thank you… for making such a beautiful and moving film."
Congregation Bonai Shalom | Rabbi Marc Soloway
"The short film [Welcome Strangers] tells the incredible story of Casa de Paz and the thousands who have found loving sanctuary there after the trauma and uncertainty of detention."
Women in Film Award | Telluride Mountainfilm
Best Short Film | Frozen River Film Festival
Local Jury Award | Palm Springs Shortfest
People's Choice Award Compassionate Service | Compassion Film Festival
Special Mention, Emerging Documentary | March on Washington Film Festival
Honorable Mention | Pittsburgh Shorts Festival
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Telluride Mountainfilm Festival
Palm Springs International Shortfest
Compassion Film Festival
Nevada City Film Festival
March on Washington Film Festival
Port Townsend Film Festival
Telluride Mountainfilm World Tour
Denver Film Festival
Frozen River Film Festival
Durango Film Festival