Well-Founded Fear

2000, 119 minutes
Directors/Producers: Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini
Distributed by The Epidavros Project Inc.

Asylum Officer Gerald. Photo: Michael Camerini

Additional Resources


Documentary Films

Abandoned: The Betrayal of America's Immigrants (2000, 55 minutes)
Directors: David Belle and Nicholas Wrathall
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
Crowing Rooster Arts production; produced by David Belle.
      This films looks at the personal impact of new immigration laws in the US.

American Dream, American Nightmare (2001, 50 minutes)
Distributor: A&E Home Video, distributed by New Video Group
Kurtis Productions and A&E Television Networks release of a 1996 television program, Investigative Reports; hosted Bill Kurtis, produced by Brad White and Belle Adler.
      This program argues that strict enforcement of our immigration laws since the 1996 reforms is causing people to be deported.

Immigration: Who Has Access to the American Dream? (1998, 29 minutes)
Distributor: Films for the Humanities & Sciences
University of Notre Dame, originally produced as a television program in 1997; produced by Michael J. Schmiedeler; written by Karen Heisler.
      This film asks questions regarding immigration in the U.S. today. How many should we allow in? Who, if anyone, should receive preferential treatment? How should illegal immigration be handled? These issues are examined from the perspective of those seeking entry, and organizations that assist them. Interviewees include an immigration judge, an immigrant from Kenya, and the owner of a New York City deli from Korea.

Mexico: Dead or Alive (1996, 56 minutes)
Director: Mary Ellen Davis
Distributor: First Run/Icarus Films
National Film Board of Canada; a film by Mary Ellen Davis.
      This video examines politics and human rights violations in modern Mexico through the experiences of Dr. Mario Rojas Alba, a physician and former member of the Mexican Congress for the opposition Revolutionary Democratic Party. Dr. Alba, now a political refugee in Canada, returns to Mexico to act as guide and witness to the conflict between the government and the people's demands for justice and reform. He struggles with being an exile from the country he loves.

New World Border (2001, 28 minutes)
Distributor: Peek Media
Produced and edited by Casey Peek.
      This film documents the increase in human rights abuses along the US/Mexico border since the implementation of border blockades, which have been erected in populated areas throughout the border region during the last decade. The program includes interviews with immigrant rights organizers, testimony from immigrants, analysis of free trade policies and current efforts to build a vibrant movement for immigrant rights.



Einolf, Christopher J. Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System. Chicago, IL: I.R. Dee, 2001.

Nanda, Ved P. Refugee Law and Policy: International and U.S. Responses. New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Plaut, W Gunther. Asylum: A Moral Dilemma. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995

Schrag, Philip. Well-founded Fear: the Congressional Battle to Save Political Asylum in America. New York, NY: Routledge, 2000.

Zucker, Norman L and Naomi Flink Zucker. Desperate Crossings: Seeking Refuge in America. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1996.


Web Sites

The Epidavros Project
      Together, the Epidavros Project and its sister organization, Camerini*Robertson, produce and distribute films that make complex issues comprehensible and vivid. They work in the areas of development, society, culture, art, and political analysis.

In Liberty's Shadow: U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers in the Era of Homeland Security (document)
      Document foreword by Sigourney Weaver

POV: Well Founded Fear (broadcaster's site)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Committee for Refugees
      The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) was founded in 1958 to coordinate U.S. participation in the UN's International Refugee Year (1959). In the forty years since, USCR has worked for refugee protection and assistance in all regions of the world.

Video Round Table: Notable Videos for Adults 2001
      Well Founded Fear was selected for inclusion on the list of videos compiled by the 2000-2001 Notable Video for Adults Committee.


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