This new film shows the uniquely complicated journey of one LGBTQ refugee seeking asylum in Canada
Canada is currently the only country in the world that has a program specifically to help LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees. But as the exceptional new documentary Someone Like Me shows, the journey for both refugees and the Canadians who help settle them can be a turbulent and complicated process long after the refuge
Directed by Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor and produced by the National Film Board of Canada, Someone Like Me follows Drake, a vibrant 22-year-old gay man from Uganda who leaves everything behind to seek asylum in Vancouver. A group of queer strangers unite to help settle him through the banner of Rainbow Refugee, a non-profit that connects LGBTQ asylum claimants with sponsors. But in the months following his arrival, both Drake and members of Rainbow Refugee struggle with unexpected challenges — not least among them a global pandemic.
Adams and Horlor started working on the project in 2015, when they were talking with the National Film Board of Canada about creating something together.
"We were looking inward, and thinking about the queer community and looking for stories that tell a story about the queer community as it is now," Adams says. "That's where we started, and from there we were thinking about the time. It's 2015, Trump's [gaining] power, there's a lot of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric that's online."
They noticed that a lot of people were supporting organizations like Rainbow Refugee (in Vancouver) and Rainbow Railroad (in Toronto).
"We were seeing that there were groups of strangers that were coming together to raise money and help resettle people," Adams says. "So we started to research it, and we started talking to different groups and people who had been through the program, and we just thought it was a very interesting and unique story that exists in Canada."