GLobal Migration Film festival in iraq by Nima Tamaddon/IOM Iraq, 2018

In its third edition, the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) gathered more than 600 spectators in front of screens in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, and Mosul to entertain and educate them about the different aspects of migration.

In addition to Erbil and Baghdad, for the first time the universities of Basra and Mosul partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Migration, and opened their doors to enthusiastic audiences.

The GMFF also reached displaced Iraqis in Dibaga Camp and Syrian refugees in Kawergosk Camp in Erbil governorate.

Organized by IOM from 28 November to 18 December, dozens of movies and documentaries that capture the promise and challenges of migration were screened in 101 countries and 161 cities across the world, including in Iraq.

In addition to providing entertainment and raising awareness on migration, some films provoked debate among the spectators.

At the end of one screening in IOM’s Community Resource Centre in west Mosul, a formerly displaced woman Nahila, along with a group of other women discussed the experience of watching Invisibles, directed by Xavier Satorra.

“This film reminded me of our suffering, of the experiences of the oppressed and the helpless. For how long will this hardship last? We shouldn’t sit idly and chant slogans, but work together to rebuild our city,” said Nahila.

Nahila and other members of the community attended the screening in the Community Resource Centre in Mosul. Sarah Ali/IOM Iraq, 2018.

Invisibles tells the story of how the war in Syria radically changed the lives of three young Syrians who fled to Barcelona, Spain.

This year, several films presented in Iraq focused on the reasons behind migration, the impact of conflict on people, and the challenges refugees and migrants face in new, unknown environments.

For example, a popular GMFF short film was Abu Adnan, directed by Sylvia Le Fanu, which told the story of a Syrian doctor who took refuge in rural Denmark with his son. As they assimilate into Danish society, they face challenges of adjusting to a new school, job, and language.

“Cinema can spread messages across the country. The Global Migration Film Festival is a valued initiative which is being organized for the third year by IOM Iraq,” said Salar Osman, Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Culture.

“We are grateful to partnering with IOM Iraq this year and we look forward to our collaboration in 2019.”

Salar Osman, Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s Deputy Minister of Culture, speaking at the GMFF event in Erbil. Raber Y. Aziz/IOM Iraq, 2018


Written by Nima Tamaddon; Photos by Raber Aziz, Sarah Ali, Hassan Al Mahmoud, Nima Tamaddon and Rafal Abdullateef/IOM Iraq, 2018

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