Grades 10 - 12, College, Adults
Directed by Alexandra Shiva
Produced by Alexandra Shiva, Lindsey Megrue
DVD Purchase $350, Rent $95
US Release Date: 2018
Copyright Date: 2018
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-09-7
Middle Eastern Studies
Migration and Refugees
Race and Racism
Awards and Festivals
Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary, Sundance Film Festival
Video Librarian 2019 Best Documentaries
Winner, duPont-Columbia Award
Director's Award, Foreign Documentary, Cinetopia Film Festival
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Jerusalem Film Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Florida Film Festival
Telluride Mountainfilm Festival
Woods Hole Film Festival
Nantucket Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival
Salem Film Fest
Berkshire International Film Festival
Women + Film Festival
Define American Film Festival
Capital City Film Festival
North Dakota Human Rights and Arts Festival
Arab Film Festival (Arab Film and Media Institute)
Middle East Film Festival
Beacon Independent Film Festival
Global Migration Film Festival
Spaces of Education Film Festivalette
This Is Home|
A Refugee Story
Sundance award-winner puts a human face on the global refugee crisis by providing an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in the US and struggling to find their footing.
[Note: Community screenings of THIS IS HOME can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]
THIS IS HOME is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. With only eight months of help from the International Rescue Committee to become self-sufficient, they must forge ahead to rebuild their lives in a new home: Baltimore, Maryland. They attend cultural orientation classes and job training sessions where they must "learn America" -- everything from how to take public transportation to negotiating new gender roles.
When the newly imposed travel ban adds further questions and complications, their strength and resilience are put to the test. Through humor and heartbreak, this universal story illuminates what it's like to start over, no matter the obstacles. THIS IS HOME goes beyond the statistics, headlines, and political rhetoric to tell deeply personal stories, putting a human face on the global refugee crisis.
"I have watched several documentaries on Syrian refugees - this is the best. A delightful, humorous and honest film. We cheer on four families as they race against time to settle, learn English and find jobs before eight months of state assistance run out. Tears came to my eyes only a few times; this is not a tear jerker. I laughed more often. Some I wanted to hug, others I wanted to shake by the collar to explain that they must fall in line with American customs or sink. This film reminds you that whether refugee or ordinary American, we are all in this together."
Joshua Landis, Professor and Chair, Middle East Studies, Director, Center of Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma, Editor, Syria Comment newsletter
"Inspirational...A testament to the resiliency of Syrian refugees. It serves as a sobering reminder of both the unthinkable violence they have fled, as well as the challenges they confront during the refugee resettlement process...Yet, in the end, this uplifting account demonstrates the supremacy of kindness and hospitality. This is Home is a must watch for anyone interested in understanding the obstacles faced by newly-arrived refugees."
Charles Ellison, Director, Immigrant and Refugee Clinic, Assistant Professor of Law, Creighton University
"Powerful...Allows an exceptional intimacy to develop between the audience and the subjects...The children make friends. Teenagers get into college. No one is a villain here. People are kind. But Shiva, in this quiet, thoughtful film, has given us a gift in laying bare the extremity of their transition. The more she illuminates the nuances, the better we see."
Eve MacSweeney, Vogue
"This is Home succeeds in showcasing the gradual social and cultural changes, including the emotional transformations, the refugees have undergone in adapting to their new homeland. It also brilliantly and subliminally shatters the publicized stereotype that Syrian refugees are a threat to American security and culture. The image of the 'other' is delicately yet seamlessly transposed into one accepted, supported and fitted into the fabric of American society."
Dr. Robert Rabil, Professor of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University , Author, Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East
"Affecting...Addresses early relief, initial confusion, fluctuating states of peace and homesick despair, and the small joys that come with knowing one can adapt."
Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
"Freedom and the hope for a peaceful and prosperous family life is an intoxicating goal. This Is Home captures the struggle for all this. As America turns inward the freedom this country offers fades. This important film brings home how policy affects human beings. A must see film."
David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University, Founder, Syrian Accountability Project, The IamSyria Campaign
"America and Americans are many things, but I was reminded of how simultaneously bewildering, charming, generous and scary this place can be."
Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time
"A compelling glimpse into the lives of several Syrian refugee families resettled in Baltimore, MD and the challenges of building a new life in exile while still dealing with the trauma of war. It poignantly depicts how these refugees - with grace, dignity, and humor - overcome culture shock, language barriers, homesickness, and bigotry to forge a new life in America. This film is necessary viewing for understanding how the ordeal of being a refugee continues after being granted asylum."
Dr. Faedah Totah, Associate Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University
"An intimate portrait of the global immigration crisis on a person-to-person level."
Chris Osterndorf, The Daily Dot
"An engaging, respectful, and realistic account of refugee resettlement in America...A must-see in classes engaging refugeeism and resettlement as well as for communities interested in learning more about the realities and challenges of resettlement for newly arrived refugees. The documentary's unobtrusive focus on the role of refugee resettlement agency staff (such as case managers, employment specialists, and interpreters), the support from faith communities (such as local churches), as well as the social, cultural and psychological challenges facing refugee men, women and children (gender roles, parent child dynamics, trauma, and homesickness) allows the story to tell so much, but without judgement or generalizations...This remains, throughout, the story of how four specific families engage in the universal struggle for dignity and hope in a new home."
Dr. Diya Abdo, Associate Professor of English, Founder/Director, Every Campus A Refuge, Guilford College
"Give[s] a face to the faceless by putting viewers - no matter their political opinions - in the center of the most personal of moments these families endure."
Meghan Giannotta, amNewYork
"If you really care to know about the lives of refugees who are coming to the US now and how they adjust to their new home, you must see this documentary. This is a poignant record of the gap between good intentions of the hosts and everyday realities of the refugee families. Reaching 'home' involves a long, hard journey."
Dr. Bandana Purkayastha, Professor, Sociology, Asian American Studies, University of Connecticut
"Brilliant...Heartbreaking...In this political moment of anti-immigrant hysteria, This is Home is a needed reminder of the many insecurities refugees confront and of the moral and political necessity of supporting them."
Dr. Samer Abboud, Associate Professor, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Villanova University, Author, Syria
"Warm, personable...Hopeful, positive...This Is Home offers constructive counterpoint that dilutes the strident nativist voices of those who would demonize refugees as vulnerable candidates to become radicalized or engaged as terrorists."
Les Roka, The Utah Review
"An excellent introduction into the challenges Muslim refugee families face...Illustrates the day-to-day cultural and emotional issues that mothers, fathers, and children confront as they try to survive and succeed in their resettlement. The film is a must-see resource especially for classes dealing with social work, human services, community studies, and the sociology of the family."
Nestor Rodriguez, Professor of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin
"Highly Recommended...The strength of This Is Home is the intimate time we spend with 3 Syrian families seeking new lives...What is mundane for us is monumental for them; how to shop, dress for work, greet Americans and shake hands. As we witness their struggle to learn, adapt and assimilate we can't help but wonder how we would do in their place, in a new country with a new language."
Jeffrey Pearson, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Stirring...A heartening call for open-armed empathy in an America still guarded on that front."
Guy Lodge, Variety
"Compelling...Reminds viewers these refugees are not just numbers but people...An intense, yet uplifting documentary that shows refugees in a humane light."
Alma Samkari, The Arab Weekly
"A sincere portrait of individuals willing to overcome obstacles and eager to adapt to the American way of life, this timely and sympathetic immigration documentary is recommended." <