DIRECTED BY PHILIPPE LIORET
IN FRENCH, ARABIC, AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Sponsored by Peroni, proudly sponsored by Schenck Company
WELCOME depicts the arduous and emotional journey of Bilal, a 17 year-old Kurdish refugee. In an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend in England, he spends three months traveling across Europe. As he reaches the shores of France, he can literally see the cliffs of Dover across the English Channel. But his journey comes to an abrupt end as the discriminating French laws against “illegals” and the cruel realities of being a refugee threaten to have the young man deported. Bilal decides he has no other choice: with the help of Simon, a recently divorced Frenchman who is searching for a cause, Bilal begins to train for the near-impossible feat of swimming across the Channel. As the two men set out on their goal, their choices are put to the test again and again. A major award winner at the Berlin, Gijon, Warsaw, and Heartland Film Festivals, WELCOME is a searing and relevant portrait about compassion, redemption, and the search for happiness in a hostile society.