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African Asylum Seekers Spotlighted July 1 On PBS' POV Documentary 'Special Flight'

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
June 25, 2013 1:51 PM
2 Comments
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PBS' POV documentary Special Flight, airs Monday, July 1, 2013 on PBS. It explores the plight of undocumented foreigners detained in Switzerland.

Full details of the film follow below, via press release. You'll find the trailer at the bottom of this post:

Fernand Melgar's Special Flight is a dramatic account of the plight of undocumented foreigners at the Frambois detention center in Geneva, Switzerland, and of the wardens who struggle to reconcile humane values with the harsh realities of a strict deportation system. These 25 inmates are among the thousands of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants imprisoned without charge or trial and facing deportation to their native countries, where they fear repression or even death. 

The film, made in Switzerland, is a heart-wrenching exposé of the contradictions between the country’s compassionate social policies and the intractability of its immigration laws.

Special Flight has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, July 1, 2013 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) as part of the 26th season of the award-winning PBS series POV (Point of View)

The film will stream on POV’s website, www.pbs.org/pov/specialflight, from July 2-July 31, 2013

American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, POV is the winner of a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Special Flight introduces viewers to immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa: Jeton, a Kosovo Roma refugee jailed for staying illegally in Switzerland while planning his marriage; Alain, a threatened unionist who fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Geordry, the son of an assassinated opposition leader from Cameroon; Julius, a Nigerian who witnessed a 29-year-old man die next to him at the airport; Pitchou, the grandson of a traditional tribal leader in the DRC who became a Christian; and Wandifa, a Gambian man who composes and sings inspiring rap tunes for the inmates and guards. Learn what happened to the detainees since the cameras stopped rolling in portions of Melgar's Web doc, The World Is Like That, on the POV website.

“One hundred fifty thousand paperless migrants live in Switzerland,” says filmmaker Fernand Melgar. “The vast majority of them work and pay taxes. They look after our elderly, care for our children and clean our flats and hospitals. Both unsuccessful asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants live with a sword of Damocles dangling over their heads: They may be arrested at any moment, imprisoned for months or years and deported from Switzerland without any form of trial.”

Visit www.pbs.org/pov/SpecialFlight for downloadable art, an embeddable trailer, press materials and more.

Watch Special Flight - Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.

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2 Comments

  • Nancy | July 8, 2013 1:37 AMReply

    Was there any follow-up, to learn what happened to these men or their families?

  • deecreative | June 25, 2013 11:10 PMReply

    Wow! This is different, PBS has always been great! Access for all

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