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Chasing Freedom (2004)

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A lawyer reluctantly takes on the pro bono asylum case of a woman who has fled the brutal Taliban regieme in Afghanistan and arrived in the United States seeking freedom.


Don McBrearty


Barbara Samuels
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Juliette Lewis ... Libby
Layla Alizada ... Meena
Bruce Gray ... Philip Laughton
Michael David Simms Michael David Simms ... Judge
Yanna McIntosh Yanna McIntosh ... Ruth
Veena Sood ... Adeena
Brian Markinson ... Eric Hoffman
Ali Jhon Ali Jhon ... Amir
Aziza Sindhu ... Deyana
Wajma Soroor Wajma Soroor ... Nazira
Gail Hanrahan Gail Hanrahan ... Shelley
Daniel Libman ... Kevin
Andrew Misle ... David
Stacey Zurburg Stacey Zurburg ... Penny
Rochelle Maitripala Rochelle Maitripala ... Adjufa


Inspired by a true story, a self-centered corporate lawyer is forced to take on a pro-bono case to help a young Afghan woman seek refuge from the tyrannical regime of the Taliban. Together the two women take on a brutal legal system to win asylum. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


History Is Written By The Brave.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of violence | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A fény felé See more »

Filming Locations:

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


References Escape from Taliban (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Tackling a Controversial Subject in Perilous Times - Successfully!
20 September 2005 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

This taut and important film CHASING FREEDOM was apparently a made for television film in 2004. It is a shame it never made it into the theaters as it is a searing document about the problems of victims from foreign countries seeking asylum in the United States. The script by Barbara Samuels is a brave indictment against the Taliban's activities in Afghanistan as well as a penetrating examination of US bureaucratic bungling in dealing with those who get caught up in the quagmire of red tape in trying to find an escape hatch from their homeland cruelty. It is an honest look at a problem, unbiased, where none of the parties are blameless.

A member of a high profile New York law firm, Libby (Juliette Lewis) is told by her boss that despite her overtaxed workload as a securities lawyer she must by contract take on some pro bono work (as much to make her boss look good as to keep a law firm's reputation spotless). Libby begrudgingly takes on a pro bono case in the department closest to her office - the INS where kind and desperate Eric (Brian Markinson) pleads with her to represent a woman seeking asylum. Libby has a negative attitude toward the process, as much because she knows nothing about asylum cases in law as the fact that she is doing this under duress. Eric introduces her to her client Meena (Layla Alizada) who has fled Afghanistan to escape death because she dared to teach children in Kabul despite the Taliban's condemnation of schools. Gradually the harden Libby discovers the life story of Meena and softens to her cause, devoting herself to achieving the impossible - obtaining asylum for a woman who has no proof of identity and is 'detained' in a brusque INS center like a prisoner.

Though Meena arrived in the US in 2000, by the time her case is extended it is 2001 - and 9/11 has happened, an incident that placed Afghanistan in a bad light. The manner in which Libby works with Meena to gain her flight to freedom is a well-paced, gripping, startling tale - and this is based on a true story.

Juliette Lewis again demonstrates the scope of her talent by convincingly transforming the hard, workaholic lawyer into the compassionate believer in human rights and she is able to make this character development with being cloying or stereotyped. It is a fine performance in a role not of the usual Lewis type. Equally excellent is Layla Alizada, wholly believable as a woman who has endured atrocities only to enter a land that seems cold to her plea for asylum. The two actresses make a fine team. The remainder of the cast is superb and the direction by Don McBrearty is on target. There is a hauntingly beautiful music score by Jonathan Goldsmith the weaves Middle Eastern and Western music into a lush, additive and atmospheric score. This film deserves attention, especially today when our borders are even more blockaded. It is wise to remember the individuals caught up in the problem of seeking asylum. Grady Harp

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