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IRC's Refugee Film Festival

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The IRC in San Diego's annual Refugee Film Festival is going virtual! We're bringing award-winning documentary film and engaging conversation to your home the first three weeks in May. Films will be available for streaming starting the Saturday before each live Q&A event, which will take place Wednesdays May 6th, 13th and 20th at 7pm.

Join us for a celebration of international film, with education on issues facing displaced people and inspiration to get involved. Event details:

WHAT             IRC's Refugee Film Festival (Online)

WHEN            Streaming May 2-20  

WHERE          Online 




Content Guidance: These films may contain themes/material that could be intense for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.​

Paradise Without People | May 6 | 7 pm 

Paradise Without People is an award-winning documentary produced by TIME Studios.

Synopsis: Taimaa and Nour are two pregnant Syrian refugees who find themselves navigating fresh marriages as they each enter motherhood while held in temporary camps. Competing with thousands of other refugees in Greece for resources, Taimaa and Nour find that parenting comes easier than either bureaucratic answers or marital bliss. Both women make desperate decisions, some with disastrous results. A feature debut from Time magazine, this portrait offers a truly distinct lens on the worldwide refugee crisis. THE IRC is joined by Francesca Trianni, Director of Paradise Without People. She is also an Emmy-nominated senior producer at Time Magazine. 

Unsettled | May 13 | 7 pm 

Synopsis: In this powerful documentary, acclaimed director Tom Shepard  follows four LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East who have fled homophobic violence sanctioned in their home countries and championed by their families of origin. Beginning anew in San Francisco, Cheyenne and Mari (Angolan), Subhi (Syrian), and Junior (Congolese) face immense barriers to securing work, housing, and legal assistance. Fighting isolation and depression, they share stories that form an unflinching picture of nearly insurmountable challenges. THE IRC is joined by Tom Shepard, Director of Unsettled. 

Torn Apart: Separated at the Border | May 20 | 7 pm 

Directed and produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Talos Films, this intimate 40-minute documentary followed those families for nine months after they fled life-threatening conditions in their home countries to seek asylum in the United States.

Synopsis: Torn Apart: Separated at the Border illuminates a dark chapter in America’s immigration history through the traumas and triumphs of two mothers who fled life-threatening violence to seek asylum in the United States, only to be detained and separated from their children. Maria fled Honduras with her son after his father was murdered and they spent months in migrant facilities 2000 miles apart from each other. Vilma escaped a violently abusive husband in Guatemala, only to face a deportation order and an 8-month detention, nearly losing her daughter to adoption. Torn Apart takes an intimate, humanizing look at a deeply divisive issue, the heroic advocates fighting for justice, and the families whose futures hang in the balance. 

THE IRC is joined by Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Director of Torn Apart.

Questions? Email our Development Coordinator, Lida Dianti, at Lida.Dianti [at] Rescue.org, or call +1 619 641 7510 ext 241. 


Content Guidance: These films may contain themes/material that could be intense for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.

These films represent the views of the contributing documentary filmmakers and do not represent formal positions of the International Rescue Committee.



Last year, we welcomed hundreds of community members and IRC supporters to the 11th annual International Documentary Film Series, featuring three award-winning documentaries: 

Angels Are Made of Light | May 1

We Are Not Princesses | May 8 

It Will Be Chaos | May 15