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When The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021, New Bedford took action – welcoming Afghan families into our community as an extension of our city’s long tradition of providing shelter to immigrants, refugees, and those escaping slavery. This documentary captures the story of another city known for its welcoming spirit.
Experience how Utica, NY – nicknamed by the UNHCR “The Town that Loves Refugees” – reaffirmed its commitment to support newcomers against the backdrop of the Trump Administration’s efforts to set unprecedented limits on the number of refugees allowed into our country. This documentary follows the Azeins – a family of 4 from Sudan – who arrive in Utica, NY and attempt to start a new life and, in turn, bring back to life a city plagued by economic stagnation. The film is a hopeful look at America’s commitment to those who cross our borders to be free.
Following the film, please join us for a panel discussion and Q&A with director Loch Phillipps and Shelly Callahan, the Executive Director of The Center featured in the film, which has helped 16,500 refugees from 35 countries resettle in the Mohawk Valley region. They will be joined by local immigration and refugee advocate Mali Lim and newcomer Farkhanda Ehssan, who left her home country of Afghanistan and resettled in New Bedford just last year. The panel is moderated by Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director of The Immigrants' Assistance Center.
This screening is free in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20 thanks, in part, to the generous support of The Immigrants' Assistance Center, New Bedford Creative and the Zeiterion. While the event is free, please "purchase" a ticket to reserve your seat.
Documentary run time: 1 hr 59 min. This film is not rated.
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If you feel like watching a film that leaves you with an increased faith in humanity Utica: The Last Refuge is it!
- Camilla Neilsson, documentary director