Watch No Human Is Illegal, a Film About Refugees Detained on the Island of Lesvos, Greece.

NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL is a personal encounter with refugees detained on the Greek island of Lesvos as the European Commission determines the fate of them and their families. NY writer/director Richard C. Ledes is releasing No Human Is Illegal on Youtube.

 NEW YORK, NY, May 23, 2018 / -- Completed in 2018, NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL is a uniquely poetic and truthful documentary about one of the darkest and most seminal political historical events of the start of the 21st century: the founding of a zone of exclusion within the Eurozone. The end of March 2018 marks the second anniversary of the ruling body of the Eurozone radically revising its undocumented migrants Policy. The European Commission declared [in early 2016] that undocumented migrants arriving on the Aegean islands would be sent back to Turkey. Filmmaker Richard C. Ledes and his crew went to Lesvos and interviewed locals, volunteers, and refugees. The refugees describe their journey, the lives they left behind, the hazardous boat trip to the island known as “the trip of death,” and their hopes for the future. In NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL, refugees speak for themselves as they wait not knowing whether they be able to stay in Europe or be sent back to Turkey. 

Europe was where the formulation les droits de l’homme et du citoyen, “the rights of the human being and of the citizen” was first declared. The long history and breakdown of this formulation witnessed by NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL, the incredible compassion of the volunteers, the conflicting responses of the people living on the island—many of them descended themselves from refugees—and the refugees themselves, all of whom are interviewed individually or as part of their families, create a uniquely profound film that will remain a vital record of this major confrontation between the principles on which Europe was founded and its current choices.

Filmmaker Richard Ledes states, "When I had first started hearing about the refugees arriving on Lesvos I immediately felt there was a film I wanted to make. In the process of doing research I also began to find out its importance for my own family. My father’s parents were themselves refugees from Turkey, part of the 1923 wave of Greek refugees who had been living in Turkey and were forced to leave. Most of the island’s population today is descended from this same wave of refugees."

NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL was shot by Italian cinematographer Valentina Caniglia. Rather than speaking without translation in languages most Europeans and Americans don’t understand, we wanted to give the people space, both literally and figuratively, to tell their personal stories. Valentina’s beautiful work in CinemaScope brings out the tragic contrast between the beauty of the island and the situation of these people seeking safety for themselves, for their families. 

We filmed on one of the margins of Europe, but what is happening there is central to the future of Europe of the world

You can watch it here.

Richard Ledes is a New York City filmmaker.  In 2004 his feature fiction film A HOLE IN ONE was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2008 his feature fiction film THE CALLER won Best NY Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and in 2012 his feature fiction film FRED WON'T MOVE OUT was nominated for Best North American Independent Film at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.