Finalists for Migrant Smartphone Film Prize Announced

Immigration and Integration

Republic of Korea - The finalists for the Migrant Heroes Prize in the 5th Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival (OISFF) have been announced. They address important migration issues in Nepal and Syria, according to IOM, official partner of OISFF this year.

Among 57 smartphone film submissions from 23 countries for the #MigrantHeroes Smartphone Film Competition – an IOM initiative to gather submissions for the Migration Heroes Prize –  three films from Nepal, Jordan, and Syria were chosen as finalists after a vigorous selection process.

“All submitted films have brought different migration experiences together. The finalists especially addressed issues of labour migration and displacement,” said Miah Park, Head of Office at IOM Seoul.

“What is striking about the films is that the protagonists don’t lose hope, even in the painful migration process caused by poverty and war,” she added. 

As the #MigrantHeroes Smartphone Film Competition encouraged contributors to document unique migrant stories from their respective countries, the finalists dealt with labour migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, which represent major migrant groups in Nepal, Syria and Jordan. 

Ramesh Khadka, the director of the Bombay Dream, which talks about labour migration from Nepal to India, said that he wanted to show one of the most common migration patterns in Nepal through his film.

“Bombay Dream represents the story of millions of Nepalese – a story that has been passed down through generations,” said Khadka. “It is also related to poverty in Nepal and a family’s survival mechanism, which is a man’s migration to India,” he added.

The other two finalists talked about migrants affected by the war in Syria, which entered its 5th year in 2015. Why Not is about a Syrian IDP who opened a business in Tartous and created jobs for over 100 other IDPs, after being displaced from Aleppo.

“By introducing a migrant who contributes in society, even after his life was totally uprooted by the war, I wanted to show someone able to create something from nothing and be successful. He is not alone – there are many successful IDPs,” said Sawsan Dahi, an IOM field worker in Tartous and the director of Why Not.

The last finalist is an experimental film, which talks about modern day refugees. A Liminal Space is a fictional film which touches on a psychological state of a refugee woman who fled to a neighbouring country due to a war.

“The story was inspired by the collective experience of the film crew working with Syrian refugees,” said Batoul Ibrahim, an IOM communications consultant in Jordan and a producer of A Liminal Space. “In the film, we tried to define who the modern Syrian refugee woman really is,” she added.

Online voting for the finalists is ongoing at the OISFF’s official website from 3 September to 7 September.  The winner of the Migrant Heroes Prize will be announced at an award ceremony on 9 September.

The winner will receive USD 2,000 and the film will be screened in movie theatres, Olleh TV and other media outlets throughout September and October.  

To go to the online voting site, please visit

To learn more about the #MigrantHeroes Smartphone Film Competition, please visit


For more information, please contact Eunjin Jeong at IOM Seoul, Tel: +82 70 4820 2324, Email:


Finalists for the Migrant Heroes Prize in the 5th Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival