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More than 70 million people around the world live as refugees today. Many carry the scars of torture — but they are largely anonymous, their histories unknown, voices unheard. 

The human rights abuse these refugees have experienced is a global epidemic. Dictators and oppressors of all kinds use torture to silence individuals and terrorize communities into submission— an urgent challenge in the time of rising authoritarian movements from Ukraine to the United States and around the world.


This film delivers a blow against oppression. As each person tells their story, they reverse the silence their oppressors sought to impose. By speaking out, they are taking radical action in the name of freedom — and delivering a message of hope, healing, courage, and resistance that is more important than ever. 

How the film was made 

Transcendence is the first and only film to be granted access to the treatment process at the Bellevue Center for Survivors of Torture. The filmmakers spent 10 years working closely with the trauma experts and their students, as well as survivors themselves.  These survivors are themselves the force behind this film — production of the film relied entirely on their storytelling and agency. This collaboration will continue through the impact and outreach campaign. Several of the characters have gained courage through participating in the film and have gone on to speak out for the first time. Others are longtime human rights activists who are finding new platforms through the film. Learn more about the Survivors here.

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