From the director Bruce Goodison (Our War, My Murder) comes a new film titled Leave to Remain, which is described as a provocative coming of age drama about young people cut loose from society because they live in the UK as asylum seekers.
In the UK, when an asylum seeker seeks leave to stay in the UK, its called “leave to remain,” hence the title of the film; further, as the film’s website states, this can be anything from a day to 3 years, and comes with restrictions on being able to work and getting an education.
3 teenagers forced to leave everything behind, learn to live alone in a hostile country. That country is the UK. Fighting for survival they form a unique and unbreakable bond, but all is not what it seems in their game of chance. The film will show that despite escaping terrible danger and living with constant risk, young unaccompanied asylum seekers have the same fears, hopes and dreams as any teenager.
3+ years in the making, director Goodison is said to have spent years working with young asylum seekers, and was granted access to interviews and court appeals as well as the public officials (defenders, social workers, doctors, and more); the completed film will be based on Goodison’s research, and while it will be scripted fiction, will have a documentary-like, realistic quality to it.
The filmmakers assembled a cast of non-professional actors who are from the refugee community, as well as up-and-comers, and have been running film workshops and providing training for these teenagers who would be on-screenstars.
Meet some of the young men and women (mostly of African and Middle Eastern descent) who’ve already been cast: the 3 principles will be played by Yasmin Mwanza, Massieh Zarrien, and Noof Ousellam; rounding out the cast will be Tango Mwanza, Gloire Mbote, Tressy Nzau.
Production began about a week ago. We’ll be tracking its progress from here on, and report any noteworthy updates.