The 2019 Global Migration Film Festival in Ireland is coming up on 19 December, the International Migrants Day.
The 2019 Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) has been taking place in over 100 countries since 28 November. Next week it is Ireland’s turn to show some of the award-winning short films that were made by migrants about the migrant experience. The film festival was initially launched in 2016 by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to inform, entertain, educate and provoke debate about the issue of migration. The short films featured at the GMFF portray the challenges and promises of migration and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. They are all shown on Wednesday, 18 December at EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin (entry is free). Get your tickets here.
What is the International Organisation for Migration?
The IOM in Ireland works “to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need”. They work on the principle that organised migration benefits both migrants and society. The IOM is part of the UN Migration Agency.
The featured short films are:
All People’s Orquestra
The short film All People’s Orquestra shows the story of the Orquestra Mundana Refugi. This orchestra was founded in Brazil with migrant and refugee musicians from Palestine, Syria, Congo, Haiti, Iran and other parts of the world. Each of them contributing a part of their culture to the music played by the orchestra using many different instruments, from the accordion to the Chinese sitar and Greek bouzouki and many others.
This short film depicts the life of Aneni, a young woman that migrated from Zimbabwe in hopes of finding employment and a brighter future in the UK. She works as a cleaner at a dance school and survives with her meager pay. But the money is not enough to support her daughter back home. She is struggling to make ends meet and in an attempt to find ways to earn extra money gets drawn into the dealings of the underworld. This is a story about a woman caught in the grey area of citizenship law who is mistreated by the system and those around her.
Gifts from Babylon
Gifts from Babylon is a short film exploring the impact of Africa to Europe migration through the eyes of Modou, a West African youth returning to his home country after living illegally in Europe for five years. The film captures the personal and cultural conflicts that arise upon his return: feeling like a stranger in your own country, community and even family. It paints a vivid picture of the struggles often experienced by migrants after deportation and explores the sobering reality and consequences of migration.
Haru’s New Year
Haru’s New Year is a short film about isolation and solitude in a new land. Having recently arrived in Canada on New Year’s Eve, Haru finds it difficult to relate to the other girls at school in Toronto on account of language barriers as well as cultural differences. This is a story about a young Japanese girl trying to figure out how to make new friends in a foreign country while still missing the ones she left behind in her home country.
Just Another Memory
This documentary covers the ongoing war in Yemen, through director Mariam Al-Dubhani’s traumatic and extremely personal experience. She fled Yemen in 2015 but found that escaping did not liberate her from the emotional and psychological effects the war had on her. This moving documentary addresses the internal dilemma that displaced migrants face – torn between feeling ‘safe’ and ‘far’ from physical danger while at the same time struggling with the emotional baggage and psychological impact of the displacement.
In this documentary, Zambian artist Crawford Mandumbwa, who lives in Botswana, openly speaks about African society, art and culture. He speaks about the politics of the African continent and addresses the question of why Africa remains plagued with major problems of social vulnerability. In Libertai, he shares his views, hopes and ambitions of changing life in Africa and firmly believes in the transformative power of art.
This short film is about a young boy who was abandoned by his brother in a foreign country. Thant Zin arrived in Yangon with his brother around three years ago, at the age of twelve. After finding him a job, his brother left Thant Zin behind. Deeply unhappy in his badly paid job and fed up with sleeping under a torn mosquito net in a small room, Thant longs to go home – but he doesn’t remember where his village is or what it is called.
The Way Home
Haiyang is a Chinese immigrant who managed to smuggle his way into the United States and settle in New York. But his goal of becoming wealthy had not materialized. Years later, his son Jimmy seizes an opportunity to prove himself to a Chinatown hooligan after becoming frustrated by having to work at his mother’s corner store. The transitions between past and present cleverly illustrate the gap between the hopes and dreams encouraging migrants to leave their homes, and the blunt reality they are faced with.
Three August Days
This short drama is about an Estonian girl and Russian boy that form an unlikely friendship in the midst of the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and the beginning of Estonia’s independence in the early nineties. It illustrates how political issues often affect people’s perception of, and attitudes towards, different groups of people. At the same time, the drama highlights the value of true friendship, all through the eyes and innocence of a child.
Let yourself be inspired by these short films presented at the Global Migration Film Festival this coming Wednesday to support migrants in your area. Maybe you even are a migrant yourself and have experienced something similar in the past? Let us know about your opinions on the GMFF in the comments.