Gohderz, Yasmin, Mohamed, Salah and Jenny fled to Europe for their lives from the civil war in Syria. They fled war only to live in harsher conditions in Europe. After a couple of years in Turkey, where they were considered as a guests with no access to education, health care or the job market, many heard that Sweden –a member of the European Union- was giving permanent residency to Syrians… but only if they reach the Swedish soil.
With no legal option to reach Sweden, thousands of Syrians crossed the Turkish-Bulgarian border between the summer and winter of 2013, only to learn later that the first European country they are registered in is, by European law, the only one where they can apply for and be granted asylum. Bulgaria, on the other side, is one of Europe’s poorest countries and is not prepared to receive such number of refugees. In October 2013 only, more than 3600 refugees (the majority of which is Syrian) reached Bulgaria through its Turkish border. That’s a hundred times more than what Bulgaria received during the same month in the previous year. Due to this unexpected flow of refugees, Bulgaria had no choice but to accommodate refugees in a closed ad-hoc camp in Harmanli, a Bulgarian border town. What they thought would be a transit ended up being a long nightmare for Syrians.
« The Dublin Pitfall » is a documentary addressing the consequences of the Dublin Regulation on Syrian refugees in Europe. The film narrates the struggle of individuals who made the perilous journey of leaving their homes fleeing war only to face harsher conditions in their host country.
The film was shot during a three-week trip across Bulgaria in April 2014. The director worked as one-woman band on a tiny budget, relying on the hospitality and help of Bulgarians and Syrians to make this film.