After the September 11th terrorist attacks, more than 5,000 Arab or Muslim immigrants were taken into custody by the U.S. Justice Department and held indefinitely on the grounds of national security. Detainees were subject to arbitrary arrest, secret detention, solitary confinement and deportation. Most were held on minor immigration charges and were frequently denied legal representation and communication with their families. The Justice Department has ensured the invisibility of these cases, by refusing to disclose the names and total number of people detained.
Set in a bare room that functions variously as interrogation room, prison cell and home, PERSONS OF INTEREST consists of a series of intimate encounters with twelve detainees and family members. Detainees share their stories, show photographs, read letters written in jail, re-enact their prison experience... even sing.
PERSONS OF INTEREST is a unique, compelling film that gives voice to the human cost of the U.S. government's anti-terrorism campaign.
"A riveting, well-paced and important film. All Americans should watch it."—Middle East Report
2005 National Women's Studies Association Film Festival
2004 Humanitarian Award, Amnesty International
Women's Eye Award, 2004 RiverRun International Film Festival
2004 Sundance Film Festival
2004 Rotterdam International Film Festival
2004 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
2004 Seattle International Film Festival
2004 Middle East Studies Association FilmFest
"A film guaranteed to raise the righteous indignation of anyone with a favorable opinion of liberty, freedom or the Constitution."—Newsday
" * * * * (4 out of 4 stars!) Editor's Choice! Highly Recommended! Sure to generate intense feelings of shame, revulsion, and sadness... while also sparking fruitful discussion."—Video Librarian
"Haunting... This timely and poignant documentary is an eye-opening discussion prompter."—Booklist
"The superbly subtle and creative direction of these individual and ultimately cumulative portraits belies the effortless appearance of the presentation and produces a simultaneous poignancy and disbelieving outrage. Like me, you may feel that you already know all about the issues and experiences communicated in PERSONS OF INTEREST. Think again."—Geoffrey Gilmore, Sundance Film Festival
"A chilling look at national policy gone awry... PERSONS OF INTEREST does a great service in offering new information at a time when open discussion is more important than ever."—The Hollywood Reporter
"Forceful and emotionally resonant... Build[s] a larger political argument through the particulars of individual experience."—Film Comment
"The stories illustrate the human cost of a Justice Department that has abandoned fundamental human rights in its indiscriminate campaign against terrorism. But the film never raises its voice to propagandize. It doesn't have to." —Newsweek
"Highly Recommended!"—Educational Media Reviews Online