Finding Edge Road was directed, produced, written and filmed by Brandy Yanchyk, an Edmonton-based filmmaker and journalist, and debuts at the Global Visions Film Festival on May 9 at 9pm. The one hour documentary shows how an influx of asylum seekers from Somalia and Iraq are changing the city of Lieksa in Eastern Finland near the Russian border. The newcomers have moved to vacant council flats on a street called “Edge Road.”
The city of Lieksa has a growing ageing population of 13,000 with a high unemployment rate of twenty percent. Many locals are concerned about the new immigrants taking their jobs and living off of government benefits. They are also worried about whether the newcomers will integrate into their society and learn the Finnish language which is a prerequisite for getting a job in Finland.
This story has international appeal because immigration and the challenges associated with it is a global phenomenon and Lieksa has made international news because of violent and racist attacks on the new immigrants from young Finnish people living in the city.
A racist FACEBOOK page against the newcomers was also set up by a local and it has since been shut down by the Finnish police. The creator of this Facebook group is in the documentary.
Finding Edge Road will also air on CBC’s Documentary Channel in July and in Toronto at the Commffest Global Community Film Festival in September 2015.