Global Migration Film Festival 2017


Cinema and Migration - a magical bond that began over a century ago when filmmakers, many of whom were immigrants themselves, began making movies about a world on the move. Their films brought the dramatic, poignant and comic stories of migrants to diverse audiences, through images and emotions that were meaningful to every culture.

In celebration of International Migrants Day on 18 December, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is proud to present the second edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF 2017). At the inaugural Global Migration Film Festival in 2016, meaningful conversations and connections about migration were kindled, leading participants to consider the multiple ways in which migration enriches our societies. 89 countries and more than 10,000 filmgoers attended 220 film screenings in multiple locales. Thailand hosted one of the largest events with six award-winning films featured and all screenings fully subscribed.

This year’s festival promises to be bigger and better. With the generous support of The Bali Process Regional Support Office (Gold Sponsor), Save the Children (Gold Sponsor), the Embassy of Canada (Film Sponsor) and IOM X (Film Sponsor), the Thailand edition of GMFF 2017 will return to Bangkok Screening Room and will feature a wider variety of films over a 5 day period from 14 December to 18 December. All have received strong support from the respective directors, and were picked to provide a variety of perspectives and celebrate cultural diversity. From the story of a Swedish radio host whose show has become a lifeline for African refugees, to that of a young girl in India who struggles to continue her education in the face of severe poverty and adversity, each film captures the trials and tribulations, joys and personal moments of those who leave their homes in search of a better life. The Film Festival is part of the United Nations’ “Together” global campaign to counter xenophobia and promote diversity and inclusion.

GMFF 2017 is an opportunity for the world to celebrate diversity and migrants’ unique contributions to the communities and countries where they live. It is also a tribute to the many films that capture the beauty and challenges of migration, bringing these realities to audiences around the world. Film has always been used to inform, entertain, educate and provoke debate. In our effort to raise awareness on migration issues amongst everyone, admission will be made free for all screenings, paving the way for greater discussion around one of the greatest phenomena of our time.

In an effort to raise awareness on migration issues amongst everyone, admission will be made free. Tickets may be reserved online, or in person at the Bangkok Screening Room. Tickets reserved online must be collected 15 minutes before the advertised start time, or will be released to other festival attendees.

*Notice: Several screenings have already been fully booked. However, a limited number of tickets have been set aside for walk-in guests.

For regular updates on the film festival, please visit the festival's Facebook page:

For online bookings, please visit:

Important notice: Due to technical constraints, Thai subtitling will be unavailable. All movies will only be subtitled in English. Any inconvenience caused is regretted.


Screening Schedule 

All admissions are free. For online bookings, please visit:


Official Selection

Twelve (Presented in Partnership with the Embassy of Canada) 
1845 | Thursday, 14 December

Immigrating at the age of 12 can be very intense experience. Adapting to a new country at this age can be difficult and overwhelming. In “Twelve”, the stories of twelve people from diverse backgrounds are collected by Philippine-born filmmaker Lester Alfonso. From escaping political unrest and persecution to food shortages, almost all were “dragged along” by their parents to Canada at the age of 12 to seek better lives. Each story represents the unique experiences of diverse immigrants to Canada from all over the world.

Duration: 43 mins| Year: 2009 | Director:Lester Alfonso | Country: Canada | Language: English with English subtitles. | Genre: Documentary

* A 20 minute short film "in Canada" will be screened prior to the screening of "Twelve" in celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

* Canadian Ambassador to Thailand H.E. Ms. Donica Pottie will officiate Canadian Film Night at 1845.


The Lucky Specials 
1845 | Friday, 15 December

The Lucky Specials are a cover band in a dusty town in southern Africa who dream of making it big in the music industry. When tragedy strikes, the band struggles to hold everything together. Despite the obstacles, the Lucky Specials must find the strength to make their dreams a reality.

Duration: 108 mins | Year: 2017 | Director: Rea Rangaka | Country: South Africa | Language: English with English subtitles. | Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama


Kshitij (A Horizon)
1615 | Saturday, 16 December

12 year old Vacchi struggles to continue her education in the face of severe adversity. Poverty forces her family to leave their village and go to a neighboring town to do back breaking labor in sugarcane fields.

She continues to quietly find time to study amidst days filled with hard toil, much to the irritation of her father a simple farmer who has very little sympathy of understanding for her aspiration.

Vacchi faces all these obstacles with a quiet positivity that finds the way to solve all these problems as they occur. Her efforts however, bring her closer and closer to a confrontation with her father.

Duration: 95 mins | Year: 2016 | Director: Manouj Kadaamh | Country: India | Language: Maranthi with English subtitles. | Genre: Drama


Era O Hotel Cambridge (The Cambridge Squatter)
1845 | Saturday, 16 December

"The Cambridge Squatter" tells the story of refugees, recently arrived in Brazil who, together with a group of low-income workers, occupy an old abandoned building in downtown São Paulo. Daily dramas, comical situations and different views on the world commingle with the threat of impending eviction.

Duration: 99 mins | Year: 2016 | Director: Eliane Caffé | Country: Brazil, France, Spain | Language: Portugese with English subtitles. | Genre: Drama


Sound of Torture 
1615 | Sunday, 17 December

Thousands of Eritrean migrants make the dangerous trek towards Israel through the Sinai desert each year. Many are kidnapped by Bedouin smugglers and taken to camps where they are tortured, raped and forced to beg relatives to pay ransom for their release.

“Sound of Torture” follows the story of a Swedish journalist-activist whose programme from Stockholm has become a vital lifeline – one where she talks to hostages in the camps while recording their pleas for help, as well as their families’ while raising money for their release.

Duration: 59 mins | Year: 2013 | Director: Keren Shayo | Country: Israel, Egypt, Sweden | Language: English, Hebrew, Tigrinya. Subtitled in English. | Genre: Documentary, War, Crime


Problemski Hotel 
1845 | Sunday, 17 December

Based on Belgian novelist Dimitri Verhulst internationally acclaimed book of the same name, “Problemski Hotel” tracks the lives of a group of migrants, all without papers, trying to find their place on the edge of the world. They float, sink, dream.

Bipul, the protagonist, lives his life in an endless, featureless, futureless round of queues in Belgium. The situation becomes more desolate in December, but the arrival of Lidia, a Russian girl, makes his experience less lonely. It is a bleak and hopeless situation – until help arrives in an unexpected form.

Duration: 106 mins | Year: 2015 | Director: Manu Riche | Country: Belgium | Language: English, Russian, Arabic, subtitled in English. | Genre: Comedy, Drama


Short Film Sunday: The Forger, Home and Hevêrk: The Circle
1730 | Sunday, 17 December

The Forger
In times of war and persecution, having the right passport can mean the difference between life and death. This is the story of how Adolfo Kaminsky, an Argentine migrant in France, saved thousands of lives as a teenager by forging passports to help children flee the Nazis. He spent his life helping others escape atrocities around the world.

Winner of the 2017 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film, Home follows the journey of a comfortable English family and their life-changing experience as they travel across war-torn lands in what is supposed to be a holiday. It is an unsettling refugee story – one that thousands of families go through as attempt to get into Europe.

Hevêrk: The Circle
Based on a true story, “The Circle” is set in Mesopotamia where Zelal, an Yezidi Kurdish girl, attends school with Zeki and Bekir. There, classroom education is Turkish but schoolyard play is a melting pot of ethnicities, religions and languages. An ordinary school day turns into a life-altering event for Zelal and her introvert admirer Zeki after their teacher introduces them to the letter “O”, writing it in chalk on the board.


The Isthmus  
1845 | Monday, 18 December

A young Thai girl develops a strange malady after her elderly maid from Myanmar, who she has a strong bond with, dies. She begins to speak Burmese, despite having no knowledge of the language before. And thus begins the metaphysical blurring of mental and geographical boundaries, as the girl and her mother take a road trip to Ranong where they encounter a different world within the Myanmar migrant community.

Duration: 90 mins | Year: 2013 | Director: Sopawan Boonnimitra, Peerachai Kerdsint | Country: Thailand | Language: Thai with English subtitles. | Genre: Drama

All admissions are free. For online bookings, please visit: