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.
View the GMFF 2018 Trailer.