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Monday, December 11, 2017
GENEVA, Dec 6 2017 (IOM) - The second edition of the Global Migration Film Festival opened yesterday (05/12) with the screening of Lost in Lebanon, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Addressing more than 350 attendees, Leonard Doyle, UN Migration Agency Head of Media and Communications introduced the film, announcing that this year, the Festival will present films in over 100 countries from Niger to Indonesia.
“This festival is a truly global event, sometimes taking place in venues like this, sometimes in a thousand-mile caravan driving through the desert from Agadez, Niger up to the border with Algeria, and sometimes in detention centers in Libya where migrants are suffering appallingly,” said Doyle.
Lost in Lebanon tells the stories of Sheik Abdo, Nemr, Reem and Mwafak, four Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. The documentary follows their struggle after leaving behind their friends and families, through the uncertainty that ensues when they lose their residency visas at the end of Lebanon’s open-door policy for refugees in early 2015, which rendered them unable to stay or return to their home country.
The four protagonists were not alone – by the end of 2016, 600,000 Syrians had lost their legal status in Lebanon. Despite the challenges, these characters remain committed to helping their displaced communities, whether by teaching young children at an informal school, offering counselling to fellow refugees, or sharing their artistic skills.
The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Riccardo Bocco, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute, with directors Georgia and Sophia Scott, and Pindie Stephen, IOM Integration Senior Specialist.
“As filmmakers, we open a window for you to look through, and as a viewer you can do your own research, or lobby your own governments to change policy,” said Sophia Scott. “This film can have a great impact, but we need to partner with organizations,” she added.
Asked about how this film impacts the work of IOM, Stephen praised the film as a tool to help dispel the many myths about refugees. “As I watched this film it reminded me of how important it is to have these tools to share with others… It’s amazing to see how much these refugees contribute to their own people,” said Stephen. “It can also serve to prepare communities that are receiving refugees and can help prepare for their integration challenges,” she added.
The Global Migration Film Festival, organized by IOM with support from DHL and other partners, showcases films that capture the promise and challenges of migration. It runs from 5 to 18 December, International Migrants Day.
A committee of international film professionals and migration specialists will select three winners from the Emerging Filmmakers category and one from the Professional Filmmakers category.
Each winner will receive USD 1,500. The award ceremony will take place on 18 December in Les Cinémas du Grütli, Geneva.
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