56 languages, 42 countries, One community. A GATEWAY TO A NEW LIFE.



DAY ONE follows a group of teenage refugees from war-torn countries who are enrolled at a unique public school for refugees and immigrants-only in St. Louis, MO, where they are guided through an inspirational program of education, healing and trauma intervention by devoted educators, some of whom have chosen to relocate to the inner city to support their students.   Over the course of a year, we watch the kids progress through layers of grief and loss as they attend school, forge new friendships, and prepare to be mainstreamed into local public high schools.  Their triumphs and tribulations all unfold with St. Louis as the backdrop: a rust-belt city that has taken the bold step of welcoming immigrants as a solution for their growing socio-economic problems. 

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Upcoming Screenings

September 22, 2019 - 6pm

Port Townsend Film Festival - Port Townsend, WA

September 21, 2019 - 12pm

Port Townsend Film Festival - Port Townsend, WA


October 6, 2019 - 1030AM

GirlForward fundraiser - Chicago, IL


october 13, 2019

Webster University, Saint-Louis, MO


Past Screenings


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Testimonials & Press

The stories told are inspirational and even, at the end, triumphant. We see friendships made, school lessons learned — and past traumas overcome……..You can’t help but be inspired by “Day One.” It’s a story of truly good people doing truly good work.”
— Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The United States is at its best when it welcomes those who have been displaced by violence and strife, and St. Louis exemplifies this spirit in Day One, creating a space for young refugees to learn and heal. The humanity of the students and teachers shines from the screen and renews our faith in the promise of America.
— Jorge Riopedre, President, Casa De Salud
Day One offered a powerful learning experience for our school community. By dramatizing the human stories of young refugees struggling to navigate a new place with the help of caring educators, the film refreshed our understanding of the power of schools to make a difference in students’ lives. The film powerfully encourages generosity and compassion for refugees at a time when some of our leaders stoke self-interest and fear.
— Frank Kovarik, English Department Chair, St. Louis University High School, Director of Equity & Inclusion
Rarely do documentary films appeal to what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. describes during the first part of his famous speech during the “March on Washington,” which is “the fierce urgency of now.” King’s speech ushered in the fierce urgency of the Civil Rights Movement. “Day One” does the same thing with the plight of immigrant children and how they are viewed across this country and in other parts of the world. The film would seem to suggest that ‘our nation’s “moral moment” is upon us.’ Do we have the capacity to fiercely love in the way that honors the Beloved Community that Dr. King so vividly envisioned from his mountaintop? “Day One” answers that question and many others.
— Brian W. Thomas, Assistant Head of School, MICDS (Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School)
Day One is everything. Not only is it for people who work with refugees but it is a film for all. The film educates the community and teaches the audience the importance of a community, the importance of diversity and the importance of working together. Together we can do amazing things and build a better future. The film creates awareness of various issues in many fields that may affect educators, humanitarians, advocates and mental health advocates...Day One was not only a heartfelt film but funny and educational.
— Itzel Íñiguez, University of Arizona, Global Experiential Learning Lead Intern

Be an Advocate!

There are over 22.5 million refugees fleeing their home countries and seeking a chance at a new life.  As this number continues to increase due to war, violence, poverty, and climate change, the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program is operating at its lowest level in recent history, and continues to contract.  In 1980, the U.S. admitted 220,000 refugees, 91,000 in 1990, 73,000 in 2000 and 2010, and now only 22,000 in 2018.

An unknown side effect of the dramatic reduction of the program has been the loss of jobs in supportive services, and the closing of resettlement agencies. There are nine voluntary agencies that receive federal funding based on the number of refugees they resettle. Drastic budget cuts and staff layoffs began in 2018 and are expected to continue through 2019 and beyond.

You can advocate to bring more refugees in the U.S. by calling and/or writing your congressional representative.  Find your representative’s contact information:


NPR News Article

2018 Was A Year Of Drastic Cuts To U.S. Refugee Admissions


Resources to learn more, stay informed and get involved.


St Louis Mosaic Project

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is a regional initiative within the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center St. Louis. St. Louis aims to be a cultural mosaic because they believe that immigrants invigorate their region. 

International Institute St Louis

The International Institute is St. Louis’ welcoming center for new Americans. Their mission is to help immigrants and their families become productive Americans and champion ethnic diversity as a cultural and economic strength.

Welcoming America

Welcoming America leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by making everyone feel like they belong. They believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors who are vital to the success of their communities and shared future.


International Rescue Committe

The IRC responds to some of the world's worst crises, delivering aid that saves lives while paving the way for long-term recovery.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.


Refugee Resettlement Program

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) helps new populations maximize their potential in the United States by linking them to critical resources that assist them in becoming integrated members of American society

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