The Facility

  • Seth Freed Wessler
  • United States
  • 2021
  • 27 min
  • European Premiere
  • Frontlight

Investigative journalist Seth Freed Wessler makes contact with immigrants who are locked up in a U.S. private detention centre, waiting for their cases to be processed—or to be deported. Precisely how long they’ll stay locked up without a legal decision is unclear. They tell their harrowing stories to Wessler and a lawyer—their only connections with the outside world.

Then the pandemic breaks out and it’s only a question of time before the virus reaches the facility. The detainees’ appeals for help grow ever louder, but they shouldn’t expect too much from the American government or the impenetrable legal system. With no options left, these men and women rise up in protest. The institution does everything possible to silence them.

This urgent documentary is made up mostly of webcam footage, consisting partly of conversations with increasingly desperate detainees and partly of scenes from their day-to-day lives in the facility. The television in the complex broadcasts news about immigration politics and the pandemic, interspersed with bitterly incongruous commercials propagating the American dream.


  • 27 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Seth Freed Wessler
Patricia Benabe
Executive producer
Charlotte Cook for Field of Vision
Seth Freed Wessler, Debbie Nathan, Carlos Andres Cuervo, Damian Grey
Lindsey Cordero

IDFA history

European Premiere

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IDFA history

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