IOM’s Three-Week Global Migration Film Festival Kicks Off Next Wednesday in 100 Countries

Date Publish: 


Geneva – The United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) will next Wednesday (28/11) launch its annual Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF). This will mark IOM´s third year screening documentaries, features and short films that explore the themes of migration and human mobility.

The opening ceremony will take place at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, kicking off 21 days of screenings and expert panels in IOM missions in 100 countries. Events will be hosted in varied locales, from cinemas to impromptu settings along popular migration routes such as the Trans-Saharan corridor.

Opening the programme in Geneva is a German feature: Strange Daughter. The film tells the tale of a young couple destined to be together but stuck between traditions, religion, contradictions and prejudices. Among other films being offered for IOM missions hosting screenings are The Merger (2018), an Australian comedy/drama, and the short drama from Denmark, Adnan’s Father (2017).

(Click here for a complete list of the 2018 official selection).

Some of the filmmakers participating in the Festival have themselves been migrants or refugees. Many will share stories brought forth from their unique experiences and even more unique talent and vision realized via films spanning a wide variety of cinema genres. Many screenings will be presented along with discussion panels comprising filmmakers, migrants and other guests. Several screenings will include side events such as photo exhibitions, children’s activities and programmes targeting university students.

The Film Festival features works that capture the promise and challenges of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. The goal of the Festival is to open audiences to a larger discussion concerning the mega trend of our time: migration.

“With our Film Festival, we strive to use films as a tool to stimulate conversation around migration and bring attention to social issues affecting migrants through storytelling,” said Leonard Doyle, IOM Spokesperson and head of the Media and Communication Division. “Cinema and migration have a historical bond stretching back over a century when film makers, many of whom were immigrants themselves, began making movies that depicted a world on the move.”

“The Festival is also an advocacy tool. One that can draw attention to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” added Doyle. “Many of the SDGs relate indirectly and directly to migration, including target 10.7, which seeks to facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration.”

Beyond stimulating healthy debate, explained Amanda Nero, the GMFF Director, IOM’s Festival amplifies voices, empowers and fosters social cohesion in migrants’ affected communities through IOM’s Participatory Video initiative, where migrants and host communities produce their own movies through a hands-on process. (More information can be found here.)

“It is important for the Festival to not only be a broad platform to inform, educate and promote the debate around migration, but it should also empower and give a voice to affected communities,” said Nero, who is also one of the facilitators of the Participatory Video initiative, adding, “The participatory process is beautiful and challenging.”

A jury of international film professionals and migration specialists will select three standout productions from the Short Films category and two from the Feature Films category. The best film from the Short Films category will receive USD 500 and the best film from the Feature Films category will receive USD 1,000. The award ceremony will take place on International Migrants’ Day (18/12).

IOM’s Holding On virtual reality exhibition will also be featured at the opening and local screenings. Holding On tells the stories of internally displaced persons by asking them to reflect on their most cherished possessions. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the plight of internally displaced persons while celebrating their courage and resilience.

The Global Migration Film Festival is supported by PLURAL+, a youth-produced video festival, and MigApp, IOM’s mobile application for migrants.

View the GMFF 2018 Trailer.

For more information, please contact IOM HQ:
Leonard Doyle, Tel: + 41 22 717 9589, Email:
Amanda Nero, Tel: +41 22 717 9111, Email:


migración, festival internacional de cine sobre migración, migration, gmff

IOM launches illustrated book "The Tale of the Lion and the Coyote" to educate on risks of irregular migration

Date Publish: 
21 / 06 / 2019

San José, Costa Rica. "Talawa" is the name of a Costa Rican reggae band made up of six musicians, who in 2016 were deceived by a "coyote" who promised them money, fame, and success in the United States. Excited by the opportunity, the group decided to make the journey irregularly, as thousands of people around the world do every day, but later they were detained by the US immigration authorities. When they finally managed to return to Costa Rica, the band's goal was to tell their story in order to make others aware of the risks and crimes associated with irregular migration.

"The story of the Talawa band teaches us that all people, regardless of their nationality, sex, age, economic status, and profession, can be victims of smuggling and trafficking networks, even without realizing it," said the National Coordinator of the Regional Migration Program, Isis Orozco.

IOM in Costa Rica works in different areas related to the prevention and combating of these crimes. In 2017, IOM launched the documentary "The Fable of the Lion and the Coyote". In 2018, IOM appointed the band as goodwill ambassador for regular migration and recently adapted its story into an illustrated story for children. Recently, the book was launched, as part of the anniversary of the Migrant Information Hub of the Municipality of Desamparados, with the participation of 250 children and their families.

Educating about migration and raising awareness about the risks associated with irregular migration is becoming increasingly vital. "Pedagogical and creative tools, such as this illustrated book, are valuable to ensure inclusion of this topic in different spaces of formal and informal education," said Alexandra Bonnie, Regional Coordinator of the Program.

The book is a joint effort between the IOM Regional Migration Program (Mesoamerica Program) funded by the U.S. Department of State, the National Coalition Against the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons, and the General Directorate of Migration and Aliens of Costa Rica.

The illustrated book is available for download in English and Spanish in IOM's regional repository of communication materials, the “Educational Toolkit”.