By Maria RAMOS


Drama - Development 2009

Is Mousa, a Sudanese immigrant, speaking the truth? Is he eligible for asylum in the Netherlands? He does not possess a valid passport, but he does have a birth certificate. According to the procedure a decision has to be made within 48 hours. The clock is ticking and the chances for asylum are prac

    • Year of production
    • 2009
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 95 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Maria RAMOS
    • Writer(s)
    • Maria RAMOS, Hans DORTMANS
    • Producer(s)
    • Pieter VAN HUYSTEE (Pieter van Huystee Film)
    • Synopsis
    • Is Mousa Mohammed Hassan, a Sudanese immigrant, speaking the truth and is he eligible for asylum in the Netherlands? He does not possess a valid passport, but he does have a birth certificate. A whole line of border police, Immigration-officers, interpreters and lawyers are passing on his file like the baton in a relay-race. According to Dutch law they have exactly forty-eight hours to come to a decision. Place of action: the Application Centre at Schiphol Airport.
      The so-called ’48 hour procedure’ is a bureaucratic system with Kafka-esque characteristics. A chilly procedure designed to legitimise sending people back to their own country. The clock is ticking and the chances of the asylum being granted are practically nil. The person behind the application is gradually overshadowed by his growing file. Each civil servant in turn weights his story. Mousa’s future depends on them.
      In the first hearing, interview officers Nina and Boris do the preparatory work, while it is up to another senior officer, Hilde, to finally cut the knot: Mousa Mohamed-Hassan fails to convince her that he is really from Sudan, which means he cannot apply for asylum in this country. His case is then taken up by lawyers who contest the IND decision. They manage to have his case reviewed. Mousa is allowed to go to an ‘open camp’ in the province Drenthe.
      Mousa Mohamed-Hassan himself undergoes the procedure with apparent stoicism. Time and again he answers the same questions without getting irritated, not even when his answers turn out to have been written down wrongly. It is not clear what goes on in his mind; neither do we know whether he is speaking the truth. Does he realize what the 48-hour procedure entails and what his chances are? Together with a number of other asylum seekers - from Kurdistan, Iraq and Nigeria - he goes through the procedure from waiting room to hearing room and from waiting room to dormitory.
      Mousa is a fictitious main character, based, however, on files of real requests for asylum in the 48 hour procedure in the Netherlands.
      In spite of the strictly defined, alienating character of the procedure there are moments of sympathy, mutual looks of understanding and attempts at empathy. Those moments transcend the system as it were and make every interview or encounter a human interaction.
      The film does not take sides, but investigates how the behaviour of all the people concerned is affected and how they communicate, in verbal and non-verbal ways. The viewer is left in uncertainty as to what happens to Mohammed Hassan’s request and what future he is facing. It is the open end of a closed system.
    • Partners & financing
    • IKON Television, Dutch Film Fund
    • Production schedule
    • Last draft script May 2009
      Financing in place September 2009
      Pre production Oktober/November 2009
      Start of Shooting December/January 2010
      Postproduction February/March/April 2010
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Dec 01, 2009