78 minutes, 1998

ASYLUM is the first feature documentary to take us inside the Canadian refugee process. It follows three people from their arrival in Canada to the final decision of the Refugee Board, and beyond. Tatiana Linco claims to have been persecuted in Kazakhstan because she is Russian. Marnush Chowdhury is a Bangladeshi human rights activist who fled when his life was threatened by the police. Cristian Ghitescu came to Canada as a stowaway; he says he faces imprisonment for speaking out against the Romanian government. Filmmaker Garry Beitel accompanies all three as they adapt to a new country, find a place within their respective communities, and deal with lawyers and officials. In an unprecedented move, the Refugee Board allows cameras into the all-important hearings which determine the status of claimants. As we follow Tatiana, Marnush and Cristian, we also begin to question the certainty of their claims. Who is telling the truth? Who is really a refugee? And how do we decide?

Source: Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)

Contributed Notes