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. The 25 Frambois inmates featured 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.
As Melgar recently explained to POV,
In the discussions that followed the screenings of The Fortress, my 2008 film about asylum seekers in Switzerland, it struck me that the Swiss public was largely unaware of how the continual hardening of the laws on asylum and foreigners affects the lives of innocent human beings. At screenings of the film in schools, I learned that the term “asylum applicant” was, for a majority of teenagers, synonymous with “offender.” So confining asylum applicants in order to deport them seemed normal. When I realized that, I considered it urgent to make a film about the reality of administrative detention and deportation.
Here’s an overview of the live chat:
When: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, from 11AM-12PM ET (8AM-9PM PT). If you can’t make it, you can send in your questions ahead of time by writing a comment below.
Who: Fernand Melgar will be the guest.
How: To join, visit the chat on the Special Flight companion website. You can also bookmark this page and return on Wednesday, July 3rd to view an archived transcript of the conversation.
On July 1, 2013 at 10 PM, POV will present the national broadcast premiere of Special Flight on PBS (Check local listings). The film will be available for streaming on the POV website starting July 2, 2013 through July 31, 2013.