We have categorised the films thematically, bringing together shorts, features and panels in a way that allows us to draw comparisons, analysing the most pressing themes from diverse perspectives.
To know more about each individual film presented within LMFF 2018 please check our film list page.
Some details may be added/changed prior to the screenings, so please keep on checking our page!
London Migration Film Festival 2018 trailer
LMFF 2018 OPENING GALA - MOVING TO LONDON
SOAS, Thu 29 Nov, 7.30pm - *sold out*
The launch of this year's London Migration Film Festival will focus on coming to the city that we all love and hate - and most of us have migrated to. Organised by Migration Collective, the event will feature a number of acts at the intersection between migration and the arts. Through theatre, comedy and film, you will be invited to examine the eclectic experiences of people who have migrated to London. The Opening Gala will be hosted by the Center for Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS.
Extracts from ‘Welcome to the UK’ (theatre)
In their first play 'Borderline', a group of young refugee and European performers made thousands of people laugh and cry as they staged a satire on the Calais refugee camp. In their second play, which will premiere in London in 2019, they will follow the stories of young asylum seekers as they settle in London.
"I had enough sadness. I love making people laugh. it makes me feel better..." Enayat, 17y from Afghanistan.
No Direction Home - Standup Comedy
Run by Camden People's Theatre and Counterpoints Arts, led by Tom Parry
We will be joined by two stand-up comedians of migrant and refugee backgrounds, who will let us see their journeys and their life in London from a new angle. Featuring Majid Adin & Tewodros Aregawe.
Short films: Little Pyongyang, The Postman, Our Kind of Love (films)
Little Pyongyang: Joong-wha Choi is a North Korean defector and a former soldier in the DPRK who today lives with his wife and kids in London and works in a warehouse on the A3 motorway. But, despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, his dilemma lies in a desire to return to the land that betrayed him yet is undoubtedly his true home.
The Postman: The Postman tells the tale of one Iranian man’s daily journey in London, who writes poetry while delivering the words of others.
Our kind of Love: Samira, an Afghan village girl, is on her first date in London. But all is not as it seems.
Lmff 2018 programme
Another News Story, Fareed + Q&A
Genesis Cinema, Fri 30 Nov, 6:30pm. Tickets here
Another News Story: During the so-called “refugee crisis” two groups of people were on the move: the refugees and the journalists filming them. This documentary follows the second group.
It boldly confronts the viewer with questions: when faced with suffering, how do journalists balance their humanity with professional objectivity and the day to day mundanity of their jobs? Is it possible to walk the line between a good story and sensationalism? Or, glazed, do you just go after another news story?
Fareed (short): Fareed is a Berber dressmaker passionate about poetry and calligraphy. While the news is dominated by violence done in the name of Islam, he battles against the fear and ignorance encouraged by simplistic representations of migrants.
The films will be followed by a panel discussion with: Orban Wallace (director, Another News Story), Rudy Barichello (director, Fareed), Tania Kaiser (Senior Lecturer in Forced Migration, SOAS)
Race, Borders and Empire - workshop
Migration Museum, Sat 1 Dec, 12.30 *sold out*
Workshop delivered by Consented
Borders have become part of our common sense so much that it is difficult to imagine a world without them. Many might argue that borders are here to protect us and make us safe. But who is being protected and where is this dangerous threat coming from? Borders are not a natural part of life, but are socially constructed. This workshop will aim to show how borders have always been racist. Whilst who gets to enter borders and under what conditions can also not be separated from histories of Empire, which have rigid notions of race at their core.
This workshop will explore: what are borders? What is the historic function of borders? Can we separate borders from histories of Empire? And much more.
Afghani kite-making workshop
Upstairs at the Ritzy, Sat 1 Dec, 1.30pm. Tickets here
Do you have children, or are you a child at heart? Come to our Afghan kite making workshop and get away with your own self-made kite!
In Afghanistan kite fliers of all ages come together to display the beautiful kites they have made and sometimes fly them in competitions. At this family-friendly workshop participants will get an opportunity to make an Afghani kite of their own with Ahmadzia, former resident artist at the Horniman Museum
Ticket price includes all materials and each attendee will bring home their very own completed kite
Windows of Displacement - play by Akeim Toussaint Buck
Upstairs at the Ritzy, Sat 1 Dec, 4.30pm. Tickets here
Akeim Toussaint Buck will perform a sonic reworking of his one-of-a-kind solo show, an autobiographically sourced solo: blending dance, song and spoken word to explore personal narratives, ancestral memory and the shifting (and increasingly urgent) politics surrounding the movement of people. Using his own experience of being a Jamaican born citizen now residing in the UK, he considers both historical as well as current political and socio-economic references.
Akeim draws on the contexts of imperialism, colonialism and displacement to create a story of the past, present and future of humanity. Prepare to be taken on a journey galvanising people power and reclaiming our collective responsibility!
A Family Tour
Genesis Cinema, Sat 1 Dec, 3.30pm. Tickets here
Five years ago director Yang Shu made a film that offended the Chinese government. Since then, she has been forced to remain in exile in Hong Kong, far from her aging mother. So Yang Shu uses the opportunity to attend film festival event in Taiwan to go, with her husband and son, to covertly meet her mother. Meanwhile her mother has arranged to be there on a Chinese government controlled leisure tour.
A keen exploration of the growing tensions within China, as well as of dynamics between Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, this film is a subtle and incisive view into how the political manifests personally, and vice-versa.
Genesis Cinema, Sat 1 Dec, 6.30pm. Tickets here
Shadi is a Palestinian, hipster-ish architect living in Italy. He goes back home to Nazareth to attend his sister’s wedding and to help his father Abu hand-deliver hundreds of invitations, following the Palestinian tradition. As they spend time together, father and son will find the time to confront each other on themes such as family values, tradition, as well as living in an occupied country.
Somerset House, Sat 1 Dec, 5:30pm Tickets here
Screened in partnership with IOM, UN Migration Agency and the Global Migration Film Festival
A former star footballer turned community outcast is persuaded to coach the struggling, local footy team in his small town in Australia. He recruits refugees to revive the team with hilarious results, and ultimately takes his community on a journey of change. Funny and moving, this film brings loveable characters and levity to a complex issue.
Xenophobia, socio-economic challenges and “the good old days” are some of the very real subjects addressed in the Australian comedy “The Merger”. Building on themes of shared interests and integration as a two-way street for both refugees/migrants and the communities where they live.
The film will be followed by panel discussion with: Ahmad Al-Rashid (Syrian refugee; IOM), Kevin Coleman (England’s Football Association), Dr Mark Doidge (University of Brighton), and Shaista Aziz (Oxford Diversity League; Oxford City Councillor)
Long-table workshop: Voyeurism in documentary filmmaking on migration
Migration Museum, Sun 2 Dec, 12:30pm *sold out*
In collaboration with Alternative Fictions
As people reached the shores of Greece, moving through Europe in search of safety and security, many filmmakers and photographers moved in the other direction. The power of the camera is the ability to witness and document, to say, “This is what is happening”, but what do these images mean to those being portrayed and to us, as spectators?
In this special event, we will open up a discussion about voyeurism, and our position as storytellers, curators and media consumers. We invite you to sit at our table and take part in these discussions with filmmakers, protagonists, curators and activists who will share their work and experiences with us.
El Mar La Mar
Genesis Cinema, Sun 2 Dec, 7pm. Tickets here
Vast and sprawling, the Sonoran Desert is mostly empty. The landscape is a landscape of death. Traces of human and animal attempts to venture through it accumulate, fade and decompose, until their very existence is inscribed in its topography. This is the route which the poorest of immigrants must take. El Mar La Mar takes you through an unforgiving landscape where life and death, beauty and dread, hostile sunlight and glittering starlit nights mingle into a journey which few could live to tell.
Created over three years by Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab graduates, this is an immersive and poetic examination of the hostile landscapes that people are forced to move through, once all other routes have been closed.
The Order of Things, Asmat + Q&A
Genesis Cinema, Sun 2 Dec, 6.00pm; Tickets here
Screened in collaboration with CinemaItaliaUK
The Order of Things: An Italian police officer from the European task on immigration is sent to Libya to strike a deal and turn jails into publicly-funded “hot spots”, where migrants traveling to Europe can be kept as authorities process their cases. Here he befriends Swada, a Somali woman trying to reach her family in Rome.
Asmat (short): ‘Asmat’ meaning ‘Names’ in Amharic is a poetic elegy to the victims of the 2013 Lampedusa shipwreck.
The films will be followed by a panel discussion with: Andrea Segre (film director, The Order of Things); Violeta Moreno-Lax (lead legal adviser on the case pending against Italy for its policy of cooperation with Libya in the containment of migration flows at the European Court of Human Rights); Federica Mazzara (senior lecturer in Intercultural Communication at University of Westiminster). Chaired by Kavinda Navaratne, Universtiy of Turin.
Ellis Island Special - double bill
Deptford Cinema, Sun 2 Dec, 12 (noon) Tickets here
100 million Americans can trace back their ancestry to Ellis Island, the United States’ first federal immigration facility. This double brings together the countless joys and heartbreaks of its monumental 120 year history.
ELLIS ISLAND: Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million people came to Ellis Island attempting to immigrate to the United States. For the 280,000 who were turned back, Ellis Island became the “Isle of Tears.” Blending dance, fiction and ghostly imagery, Meredith Monk evokes a dark American legacy.
LUCY: Armed with a camera and tape recorder, Verena Rudolph goes to New York City on a search for her aunt Lucy, 50 years after she disappeared from her Bavarian hometown. Piece by piece, a mosaic of her eccentric life emerges from the tales of her best friends - four women aged between 90 and 100 - and her Black adoptive daughter Luci.
The Personal is Political: How Polish women negotiate the price of migration + Q&A
Deptford Cinema, Sun 2 Dec, 2:30pm Tickets here
This double bill and panel discussion offers two observational documentaries exploring everyday struggles of two Polish women in London. Violetta lives in shared accommodation with her adopted friends, lovers and family. Beata has travelled to London to collect her husband’s ashes and achieve closure on a traumatic period of her life.
Following the films there will be a panel with: the protagonists of the film, directors M+M Hawkins, Candida Yates (Professor of Culture and Communication, Bournemouth University), Dr. Kathy Burrell (expert on Polish Migration, University of Liverpool), and Dr. Elena Marchevska (Senior Lecturer in Drama and Performance, LSBU)
Royal Cafe, Together Apart, One Cambodian Family
Deptford Cinema, Sun 2 December, 5.30pm
Royal Cafe: A Swiss-Tibetan filmmaker moves to Paris, where she wants to make a film about the local Tibetan community. She starts hanging out at Royal Cafe, where she meets people with different backgrounds and experiences of being part of the Tibetan diaspora.
Together Apart: Guil Ann, a 25 year-old woman from the Philippines, follows her mother Carren’s footsteps to work as a live-in domestic helper in Cyprus. Having lived apart for most of their lives, mother and daughter are reunited for the first time in years - only to be separated again when Carren gets arrested by the Cypriot immigration police.
One Cambodian Family Please For My Pleasure: A refugee from Czechoslovakia has settled down in the US. As she hears about Cambodians refugees fleeing a dictatorship, she wants to step in and sponsor a Cambodian family so that they can move into her community.
Deptford Cinema, Sun 2 December, 8pm Tickets here
Saparkul has decided to return to Kazakhstan, the home country of his father. Because his father is old, he has chosen to give up his position as muezzin in their local mosque in Afghanistan and has already received all the necessary documents by the Kazakh authorities. Together with his wife and daughter, the two men start the long journey from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan. However, the country of Kazakhstan has changed since Saparkul’s father left. And as his health slowly deteriorates, the family is forced to make a living in a place whose people mostly avoid them.
Iuventa, The Iuventa + Q&A
SOAS, Mon 3 Dec, 7pm *sold out*
The Iuventa is boat commissioned a German charity, to rescue migrants between Libya and Italy. At this event we will examine Iuventa’s journey through documentary and forensic architecture. By doing so, we will draw out the intersecting humanitarian, geopolitical, economic and discursive implications of Iuventa’s work, and analyse how the humanitarian sector has become increasingly criminalised and privatised.
Iuventa: The film relates the events of a crucial year in the lives of a group of young European men and women all involved in different ways, starting from the Iuventa’s first voyage in the Mediterranean Sea to the accusations that led to the seizure of the vessel more than a year later.
Followed by a panel with: Lorenzo Pezzani (Lecturer, Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths), Martina Tazzioli (Lecturer in Geography, Swansea University), Paolo Novak (Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS), and Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax (Senior Lecturer in Law, Queen Mary Uni, Advisor on Iuventa case at ECHR)
Revenir, Before I Forget
Deptford Cinema, Mon 3 Dec, 7pm Tickets here
Revenir: Revenir follows Kumut Imesh, a refugee from Ivory Coast now living in France, as he returns to the African continent and attempts to retrace the same journey that he himself took when forced to flee civil war in his country… But this time with a camera in his hand.
Before I Forget (short): If you could no longer return to the place where your memories were made, would you still recall them in the same way? Razan Hassan takes us with her onto an autobiographical journey trying to recover her only record of the past, while she is trying to forge a new identity following her displacement from Syria.
Taste of Cement + Q&A
The Lexi, Mon 3 December, 6:30pm Tickets here
A portrait of workers in exile. An empathetic encounter with people who have lost their past and their future, locked in the recurring present. The director creates an essay documentary of Syrian construction workers building new skyscrapers in Beirut on the ruins caused by the Lebanese civil war. At the same time their own houses are being bombed in Syria. Mute and imprisoned in the cement underground, they must endure until the new day arrives where the hammering and welding drowns out their nightmares.
Followed by a panel discussion with: Dr Sunil Kumar (Social Policy & Development, LSE), Sulaiman Osman (Hikayetna, Stories of Syrian), Tony Gammidge (filmmaker & art therapist with Art Refuge UK), and Dr Hanna Baumann (Visiting Lecturer, Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, Cambridge)
I am Golden Karen + Q&A
Genesis Cinema, Tue 4 Dec, 6.45pm. Tickets here
I Am Golden Karen tells the story of Thaawa, a young rapper from Burma’s Karen State who is part of an entire generation that has grown up in Thailand but nurtures a strong desire to return to their motherland. The film follows Thaawa as he negotiates his identity from being a young migrant arriving in Bangkok to becoming a father. He questions his responsibilities towards the family and his desire to both settle in Thailand and return to Karen State.
Followed by a panel discussion examining the role of music & art in negotiating (forced) migration with film directors Maui Druez and Preben Verledens; Mo'min Swaitat, a Palestinian actor, writer, director and workshop facilitator.
Babylon + Q&A
Migration Museum, Tue 4 Dec, 7pm Tickets here
DJ for Brixton reggae sound system 'Ital Lion Sound', Blue is getting ready for the local sound system showdown with rival crew, Jah Shaka. But as the day of the competition approaches, Blue suddenly sees his life falling apart. After losing his job, he's beaten up by the police on a trumped-up charge, and then discovers that all of his sound equipment has been destroyed by local white residents, hostile to his music. Tired of having to deal with the constant daily pressures of racial-hatred and intolerance, Blue finally decides to take matters into his own hands, and strikes out at his oppressors.
Followed by a panel discussion with Clive Nwonka (fellow in film studies at LSE), Patrick Vernon OBE (British social activist and commentator of Jamaican heritage, strongly involved in the Windrush Scandal) and others.
Closing night: Twin Flower, Island + DJ
Peckham Springs, Wed 5 December, 7.30pm
Twin Flower: A young woman from Italy and a young man from Ivory Coast are running away from their ghosts. They meet each other in a small town in Sardinia - and find out that what unites them is more powerful than what separates them.
Island (short): A migrant in Italy relies on Skype and phone calls to maintain relations with his family.
DJ Blonde Zilla will make us dance to close the night and celebrate the end of LMFF 2018