Nate Dorr | 2020 | 9 min

Despite New York's status as a sanctuary city, ICE facilities ring and infiltrate the boroughs while its agents continue to make hundreds of arrests every month. We know this, especially when high-profile abuses are reported, but ICE presence here typically goes unseen and unremarked on. Sanctuary highlights this troubling disjunction, and the millions of people threatened by it, through a pointed act of looking at the architectural apparatuses of detention and deportation. As long as ICE persists, there is no true sanctuary.

New York State remains fourth in the country in annual deportation proceedings after Texas, California, and Florida. Across twelve short chapters ranging from the outer rim of Queens to Hackensack, New Jersey, Sanctuary visits detention sites, prisons, offices, and courthouses -- all the locations through which ICE maintains its operations in downstate New York. In each chapter, brief narration condenses extensive research into government reporting, Freedom of Information Act retrievals, and investigative journalism, over manipulated photographs of the buildings themselves. Many of these interventions attempt visually -- through fragmentation, redaction, distortion, or even the blurring by which some of these sites are obscured in street view apps -- to do what is more difficult in actuality: the destruction and removal of ICE itself from the landscape.

Narrated by artist Maya Edelman, who arrived in New York as a refugee at age 12.
WORLD PREMIERE: Prismatic Ground festival of experimental documentary (April 8 - 18, 2021)
Showing at the Long Island International Film Expo (August 12, 2021)
SOUTH AMERICAN PREMIERE at the Bogota Experimental Film Festival (August 2021)
Screening with a Prismatic Ground remote program at CalArts (November 2021)
Midwest Premiere at the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival (January 2022)
Shown at the Empire Arts Center, Grand Forks, ND (February 2022)
Shown at the Bismarck Downtown Arts Cooperative, Bismarck, ND (March 2022)
Shown at the Taube Museum of Art, Minot, ND (August 2022)
Screening at the Oak Park Theater in Minot, ND (August 2022)
Shown at the Arts Center in Jamestown, ND (November 2022)

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