Curtains Open Around the World for Week One of the Global Migration Film Festival

Geneva – The first week of IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) underlined its international appeal.

Screenings of the 42 selected migration-themed films (from over 784 submissions) were held across the globe, from the Dominican Republic to Rwanda, from Romania to Indonesia.

By the time the festival wraps up with a gala event in Cairo on International Migrants Day, on 18 December, at least 424 screenings will have been held in nearly 150 cities.

Here’s a 25,300km-long journey covering some highlights of what has happened so far and what’s to come.

Moscow’s Dozen: 12 Migration Films to be Screened in Russian Capital

Moscow – IOM and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) have teamed up to screen 12 GMFF offerings between 11 and 18 December. The Festival coincides with the 10th international Migration Bridges in Eurasia forum.

The opening ceremony will take place on 11 December at MGIMO University with the screening of Donald Trump’s Wall, a film by Guillermo Galdos about 12-year-old migrant Fatima and her sister who are on their way to join their mother in the United States.

During the week, IOM will screen 12 films that touch upon different sides of migration including A Walk on the Tight Rope, a German documentary that offers a remarkable insight into the asylum application process and, Bushfallers – A Journey of Chasing Dreams, in which four young filmmakers embark on a journey to discover why Africans choose to migrate to Europe.

The complete festival agenda for Moscow can be found here:

“Films about migrants are films about life; they give society an idea about migrants as people, not as a threat. Some people think that migration is something abstract and dangerous for society, and films destroy these stereotypes – they show the life of migrants as ordinary people,” said Sergey Ryazantsev, Head of the Demography and Migration Department at MGIMO University, and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

IOM Moscow’s 19 screenings places it among the top 10 most active IOM missions.

“The Global Migration Film Festival, launched in 2016, has been instrumental in conveying the message on the realities of migration, its challenges and opportunities,” noted Abdusattor Esoev, IOM Moscow Chief of Mission. “I am very thankful for the support of our partner, the Moscow State Institute for International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation, in jointly organizing this year’s Film Festival in Russia.”

For more information, please contact Abdusattor Esoev at IOM Moscow, Tel: +7 905 792 69 10, Email:

Human Trafficking on Kenyan Coast under Spotlight during Film Festival

Lamu – Tourism is a major source of income in Kenya’s coastal region but is also a key contributor to the trafficking of women and girls due to their socio-economic status. The IOM Kenya Country Office held film screenings to raise awareness of human trafficking and gender-based violence, on 28-29 November on Lamu Island — part of the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya.

A total of 102 participants (51 men and 51 women) attended the screenings, held during the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF).

The screenings and ensuing discussions took place at the same time as the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign which galvanizes action to end violence against women and girls. As part of this year’s campaign, UN agencies in Kenya, including IOM, reaffirmed their commitment to contribute to creating a safe working environment.

These activities were supported by the Government of Japan as well as the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme which aims to improve migration management in the region, and in particular to address the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa.

The BMM Programme is a regional, multi-year and multi-partner programme funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, GIZ, Expertise France, the Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL and the British Council. The BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and coordinates closely with the EU Delegation South Sudan.

For more information please contact Etsuko Inoue at IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254204221000, Email:

GMFF in Buenos Aires Opens with Award-Winning Film

Buenos Aires – The GMFF opened Monday in Buenos Aires with a screening of The Kitchen of Las Patronas at the Alliance Française. The feature, directed by Mexican filmmaker Javier García, was awarded the Iber-rutas Prize for the best Hispano-American film.

The Iber-rutas Programme for Strengthening Rights and Intercultural Routes in Ibero-American Migration is a programme of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (Secretaría General Iberamericana, SEGIB in Spanish).

The Kitchen of Las Patronas won the award because it directly showcases the theme of migrant populations on the move. The film presents the infamous journeys made aboard the train known as “The Beast”, along a route through Mexico, where some of the region’s most vulnerable migrants perch perilously on top of freight carriages for days.

The audience was welcomed by Marina Mantecón Fumado International Cooperation Director at the State Secretariat for Culture, IOM Argentina Head of Office Gabriela Fernández, and Nathalie Lacoste Yebra, Director General of the Alliance Française in Buenos Aires.

“Migration links peoples, cultures; it enriches and widens [people’s] horizons,” said Mrs Mantecón Fumado. “It calls for an effort, particularly nowadays, in order to work on tolerance, pluralism, and respect for cultural diversity.”

“The Festival allows us to reach new audiences about migration matters. It is indeed important to raise awareness and disseminate a message of solidarity and empathy towards migrants through the films,” added IOM Argentina Head of Office Gabriela Fernández.

Director Javier García thanked IOM and the State Secretary for Culture: “We are proud, first of all on behalf of the women who have led us here,” he said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to continue spreading the word about their work, which is very important in connection with the issues of migration, human rights, and women’s empowerment.” (Watch the interview in Spanish here)

The Festival Agenda for Argentina is available here:

For more information please contact Débora Taicz at IOM Argentina, Tel: +54 11 48151035, Email:

World Premiere of One Way Ticket Launches GMFF in Washington DC

Washington DC – IOM hosted the world premiere of One Way Ticket during the Global Migration Film Festival last week (29/11) at Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington, DC.

The feature film by Madness Films and Echo Studio tells the story of two refugees, Jean-Pierre Ntegyeye and Isaiah Bahati. Forced to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the two spent nearly 20 years in a refugee camp in Uganda. At the start of the film Ntegyeye, his wife, mother and six children, along with Bahati, say farewell to the life they built in the refugee camp.

“As you will see in the film, it can be a daunting experience for displaced persons to begin a new life in another country,” IOM Chief of Mission in Washington Luca Dall’Oglio told the audience before introducing the film. “Migrants, regardless of migration status, are entitled to have their human rights protected.”

Following the premiere Ntegyeye and Bahati, who were present for the screening, continued the dialogue in a panel discussion along with film director Gregoire Gosset, producer Vanessa Fourgeaud and IOM JFK Airport Operations Supervisor Omar Nur.

“When the violence broke out in my country, I was already a man,” Ntegyeye told the audience. “I was a teacher at one of the schools. We had to leave immediately to avoid being killed.”

Films can serve as an educational tool to influence perceptions and bring attention to particular social issues – in this case the challenges and triumphs of forced migration. Producer Vanessa Fourgeaud expressed hope that the film could raise awareness and promote deeper empathy for persons fleeing conflict.

“I would hope that people becoming more familiar with these types of stories would understand better who these men and women are and why they had to leave their countries,” she said during an interview. “They have no hope of ever returning home.”

Moving people to safety to start a new life has been a core function of IOM since its establishment in 1951 to assist with the resettlement of Europeans displaced by World War II. For staff members like Omar Nur, this particular work is a rewarding opportunity to welcome refugees in the same way he was received at New York’s JFK Airport nearly 40 years ago.

For more information please contact Liz Lizama at IOM Washington, Tel: +1 202 716 8820, Email: