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 third edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF 2018). This year’s edition promises to build on the Festival’s continued success with 7 critically-acclaimed and award-winning films. With the generous support of Save The Children (Gold Partner), the Embassy of Canada (Film Sponsor) and IOM X (Film Sponsor) and the Bangkok Screening Room (Official Venue), the Thailand edition of GMFF 2018 will run for three days from 14 to 16 December at the Bangkok Screening Room and will feature a variety of films. All have received staunch support from their respective directors and were picked to provide a variety of perspectives and celebrate cultural diversity.

From the dilemmas faced by North Koreans attempting to escape into China, to the struggles faced by intersex and transgender people in Kenya, each film captures the trials and tribulations, joys and personal moments of those who leave their homes in search of a better life. GMFF 2018 is an opportunity for the world to celebrate diversity and migrants’ unique contributions to the communities and countries where they live. The Festival is part of the United Nations’ “Together” global campaign to counter xenophobia and promote diversity and inclusion.

GMFF 2018 is also proud to announce that the critically-acclaimed 2018 Danish documentary, Heartbound, will premiere in Bangkok for the very first time at the Festival. Heartbound tells the story of how over 900 Thai women ended up married to Danish men in the small village in northern region of Jutland. Three other films - A Thousand Girls Like Me, Fremde Tochter and The Merger - will also be featured on the big screen in Thailand for the first time. 

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 of charge for all screenings, paving the way for greater discussion around one of the greatest phenomena of our time. To watch a film, simply turn up at the Bangkok Screening Room on the day of its screening. Tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis 30 minutes before the start of each film




14 Dec

   6.45pm: The Other Side of Dooman River 

   7.15pm: A Thousand Girls Like Me (Thailand Premiere)

15 Dec

   4.15pm: Sidney & Friends

   6.45pm: Monsieur Lazhar

16 Dec (Sun)

   2.00pm: Heartbound (Bangkok Premiere)
(Followed by Q&A with Director Sine Plambech)

   4.15pm: Fremde Tochter (Thailand Premiere)

   6.45pm: The Merger (Thailand Premiere)


  • All films will be screened at the Bangkok Screening Room. 
  • Admission is free-of-charge for all screenings.
  • Tickets for each film will be released 30 minutes before its screening. (E.g. Tickets for Heartbound will be available from 1.30pm on 16 December for the film's screening at 2.00pm.)
  • Tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis at the Bangkok Screening Room ticket counter.
  • One person is entitled to one ticket. It will not be possible to obtain additional tickets for your companions if they are not physically present with you.
  • Screening schedule subject to change. 
  • Due to technical constraints, Thai subtitling will be unavailable for most films. Any inconvenience caused is regretted. 


*Bangkok Premiere*
Directors: Janus Metz and Sine Plambech
Languages: Danish and Thai with English and Thai Subtitles 
Duration: 94 Minutes
Awards: Winner, Best International Documentary Film, Zurich Film Festival and Nominee, Grand Jury Prize, DOC NYC

In the small northern region of Jutland, Denmark, over 900 Thai women are married to Danish men, a trend that started 25 years ago when a former sex worker from Northeastern Thailand married a Jutland native and has since helped lonely local men and impoverished women from her village find someone to marry and share life with.

Acclaimed filmmakers Janus Metz and Sine Plambech follow four of these Thai-Danish couples over ten years in an intimate chronicle that explores universal questions of love and romance, dreams and everyday hardship, life and death, and the very nature of family.

The Other Side of Dooman River
Director: Bae SeWong
Languages: Korean with English Subtitles 
Duration: 21 Minutes
Release Date: June 2016

At the northern border between North Korea and China, the Dooman River flows peacefully. A place of both hope and dread for the thousands of North Korean “defectors” who attempt its crossing every year, it has the power to deliver a second chance or, for some, a tragic demise.

Two North Korean border guards man a border post along river. When the senior soldier leaves his post to relieve himself, the junior soldier heads down to the river. There in the meadow, he discovers a family who offer him their entire life savings in order to bribe their way out of the country. Whether they manage to cross the deadly border remains a question. The Other Side of Dooman River is an illustration of what the most vulnerable migrants must risk for a chance of a life lived without repression.

A Thousand Girls Like Me
Director: Sahra Mani
Languages: Persian with English Subtitles 
Duration: 76 Minutes
Release Date: October 2018

Khatera, a 23 year old Afghan woman, is a victim of sexual abuse from her father. She tells her story publicly on national TV, seeking punishment for her perpetrator and shedding light onto the faulty Afghan judicial system. When Kathera confronts her past head on, she faces hostility to the point it becomes necessary to leave her country and start a new life in France. 

In a country where the systematic abuse of girls is rarely discussed, Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani presents an awe-inspiring story of one woman’s battle against cultural, familial, and legal pressures as she embarks on a mission to set a positive example for her daughter and other girls like her.

Monsieur Lazhar
Presented in Partnership with the Embassy of Canada in Thailand
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Languages: French with English and Thai Subtitles 
Duration: 94 Minutes
Release Date: March 2012
Awards: 30 wins and 18 nominations, including Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, “Monsieur Lazhar” tells the poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher and trying to heal. Bachir Lazhar, a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, offers the school his services as a substitute teacher and is quickly hired. While the class goes through a long healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful former life; nor that he is at risk of being deported at any moment.

Adapted from Evelyne de la Cheneliere's play, Bachir Lazhar depicts the encounter between two distant worlds and the power of self-expression. Using great sensitivity and humor, Philippe Falardeau follows a humble man who is ready to transcend his own loss in order to accompany children beyond the silence and taboo of death.

Fremde Tochter (Strange Daughter)
*Thailand Premiere*
Director: Stephan Lacant
Langauges: German with English Subtitles 
Duration: 106 Minutes
Release Date: June 2017
Awards: 7 wins and 18 nominations

Parental Advisory: Nudity and other mature themes

Lena (17) meets 19-year-old Farid, a young Muslim. She has a clear-cut attitude towards his culture and religion: utter rejection.  Despite their different backgrounds and outlooks, a mutual attraction leads to an unplanned pregnancy and a complicated relationship that starts to encroach on other aspects of their lives.

Hannah, Lena's mother, sees red, realizing this means her daughter will be expected to marry a Muslim man - unfathomable both to her and to Farid's family. A couple destined to be together stuck between worlds, traditions, religion, contradictions and prejudices.

Sidney & Friends
Director: Tristan Aitchison
Languages: English and Swahili with English Subtitles 
Duration: 90 Minutes
Release Date: May 2018
Awards: 6 wins and 3 nominations

Sidney was born intersex and grew up in rural western Kenya. He didn’t like wearing skirts or doing chores that girls are traditionally supposed to do, preferring herding cattle and playing football. When his family tries to kill him, Sidney, flees to Nairobi where he meets a group of transgender friends. Together, they fight discrimination and discover life, love and self-worth.

Feature documentary Sidney & Friends is a heartfelt exploration of the hopes, dreams, and everyday reality of a group of intersex and transgender friends fighting to survive on the edge of Kenyan society. We learn of the different forms of exploitation they have been subjected to and how, despite this, remain optimistic that their society can become more accepting.

The Merger
*Thailand Premiere*
Director: Mark Grentell
Languages: English with English Subtitles 
Duration: 99 Minutes
Release Date: September 2018
Awards: 3 nominations

The township of Bodgy Creek has seen better days: the population is dwindling, jobs are scarce and litter has built up around the fading Tidy Town sign. The next victim of the town’s decline is the cash strapped Aussie Rules footy club. Living a hermit-like existence on the town’s fringe, former football star Troy Carrington, is coaxed into rescuing the team after striking up an  unlikely friendship with young Neil who is struggling with the recent loss of his father.

Teaming up with Neil’s mum Angie who runs a nearby refugee support centre, they unite to recruit refugees to revive the team with hilarious results, and ultimately takes his community on a journey of change. Hysterical and deeply moving, this film brings loveable characters and levity to a complex issue.