The Shelter


2015 Season

Accomplished documentarian Fernand Melgar is renowned for his powerful investigations into the injustices of Swiss society. His latest offering, The Shelter, charts a cold winter spent at an emergency shelter for homeless migrants in the wealthy city of Lausanne. His sensitive approach renders the camera invisible, immersing us straight into the heart of a hidden bunker where the same dramatic ritual unfolds every night. Shelter staff have the terrible task of randomly selecting the evening's residents: women and children first, men later if there is room. The shelter can hold 100 people, yet frustratingly, only 50 'chosen ones' will be allowed inside the concrete walls. Those that remain outside face a long and lonely night. Following controversial The Fortress and Emmy-nominated Special Flight, The Shelter is a masterful third part to Melgar's documentation of the migrant experience in Europe, and vital testament to the power of film to shed light on stories hidden in the shadows.

Fernand Melgar
Country of Production: 
In English, French, Spanish, Wolof, Romani, and Peul with English subtitles
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Fernand Melgar

Following a screening of experimental films in 1983, Fernand Melgar turned himself into a self-taught independent film director and producer. He created experimental films and iconoclastic television segments, and in 1985, he joined the production company Climage, with whom he has stayed a faithful collaborator, and has produced over twenty well-regarded documentaries on the subjects of immigration and identity.