An 11-minute documen-tary film titled Out of Status opened to packed theatres and rave previews when it was released at the 33rd International Film Festival at Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The prime aim of the film is to depict the US-imposed special registration programme asking male immigrants from 24 countries to register themselves and detaining them without trail.
Made by Pia Sawhney, a young girl in her twenties studying law at the New York State University, and her friend Sanjna Singh, the film tells the story of a middle-aged Pakistani called Jeffer, who is picked up by INS and detained without trial, plunging his family into shock and despair. Pia said, ?We found several cases like Jeffer. So far, 2,800 people have been deported and 82,500 registered for deportation. Families were being separated and communities were uprooted. In 11 minutes we have tried to tell the story of Jeffer and those like him; people who have been ignored by the mainstream media and have not lost hope in the great American dream.?
As soon as the film took shape, Pia and Sanjna decided to take it to Rotterdam where it created waves among the viewers. Later, when they returned to New York, ?word had spread about the film and we exhibited it at the New York alumni club.?
Things became so hot for the mandarins of the US Department of Home and Security, that ?the special registration programme has been discontinued but there are families out there which are still separated,? claimed the two gutsy young Indian girls studying in USA.