Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America


Year: 2019
Country: USA
Run Time: 84 minutes

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America
Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America

This powerful documentary traces the setbacks and triumphs experienced by LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers escaping from the Middle East and Africa as they struggle to carve out a new home in the U.S. Facing violence and persecution in their home countries, the film introduces us to: Subhi, a Syrian activist running from Al Qaeda; Cheyenne and Mari, a young lesbian couple fleeing Angola; and Junior, an HIV+ man driven out of the Congo. The film’s protagonists are relocated to San Francisco, arguably the American queer mecca, in the hope of finding freedom and safety. But they are met with an entirely new set of challenges, including securing permanent housing and steady employment in one of the nation’s most expensive cities—not to mention the fight to maintain their mental health amidst the endless bureaucratic gymnastics required of them. Still, this is a story of perseverance, and it captures the profound beauty of the human will to survive while speaking to the unwavering resilience of queer people around the globe. — R.J.T.

CIFF44 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET

Friday, March 27, 2020 at 2:15 PM ET

Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 2:25 PM ET

Accessibility (?): No closed captions, audio description, English subtitles

African Diaspora
Voices of the Arab World

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition


Tom Shepard

Tom Shepard, Jen Gilomen

Andrew Black, Jen Gilomen, Mike Seely

Eva Brzeski

Print Source

Community Partners

Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio

Human Rights Campaign

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today