This wrenching and emotionally affecting story follows three Cambodian-American immigrants living in Seattle. In the early 80s, these children were among multitudes of Cambodian refugees given shelter from the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Seattle's housing projects. Now, their teenage rebellions have caught with them in a horrific way, and the confluence of their non-citizenship (they are "permanent residents") and post 9/11 anti-terrorism laws lead to their immediate deportation.
Directors Nicole Newnham and David Grabias follow the men back to their native Cambodia, a country that is unfamiliar and fearsome to them. Weaving a complex tale that touches on everything from immigration, genocide and our present culture of fear to the ties of family, SENTENCED HOME is a remarkable, and urgent, story.
Filmed over the course of three years, filmmakers David Grabias and Nicole Newnham have captured intimate moments that crystallize the raw emotion and human impact of deportation: Loeun Lun saying a painful farewell to his wife and two young daughters the day of his deportation; Kim Ho Ma turning to alcohol and drugs in Phnom Penh as a way to deal with his anger and hopelessness; and Many Uch proudly pledging allegiance to the United States during a baseball game, even as he waits for his turn to be deported.
Documentary acquisitions director Danielle DiGiacomo says she was drawn to the film due to the "humanization of such an important and immediate domestic travesty; this is a film that the world needs to watch."