IGA Migration Video Competition

The Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at LSE launched a video competition in the spring of 2016 with the support of online video platform Chainy for short videos on the topic of migration.

The competition is now closed for entries and judges from Cannes LionsThe Guardian and LSE IGA reviewed a total of 47 submissions from around the world and were pleased to announce the overall winner: Monzer Darwish and the top 5 finalists at a prize-giving ceremony at an exciting LSE event: Beyond Tolerance: Citizenship, Diversity & Constructive Conflict lead by some fantastic speakers whom delivered fascinating insights highlighting the role of education, enterprise, entertainment, politics and academia in peace-building and social cohesion. The competition winner and finalists were awarded prizes sponsored by Open Society Foundation: the winner received £5000, and the finalists each received £500.

Speakers included: Hanan Al Hroub, Dr Naif Al-Mutawa, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Allyson Stewart-Allen, Caroline Watson, Scott Weber, Professor Erik Berglof, Catherine Howarth, Julia Karmo, Vikas Pota, Peter Lacy, Sonia Medina, Jon Alexander, Ayla Goksel, Noa Gafni Slaney, Veronica Needa, Belinda Parmar, Kathryn Tomlinson, Funmi Iyanda, Professor Christine Chinkin, Madeleine Rees, Nour Khaled, Fardous Bahbouh, Jonathan Simons, Janice Lopatkin, Nasser Yassin, Matt Powell, and Professor Lutfey Siddiqi. 

IGA team’s top eleven entries


Monzer Darwish (1st prize)

Monzer is a Syrian filmmaker and heavy metal guitarist as well as being very passionate about cooking, especially sweets and pastry- his family’s business. He decided to take part in this contest to share his personal experience and give people a glimpse into his background. Monzer believes the most important thing people should know about refugees is: "Behind each individual there is a chain of disappointments that led to them eventually leaving everything behind."

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Will Frogley

This short film by Will is based on his two trips to Calais and Dunkirk camps in France. These trips unearthed a personal connection for Will: his own great-grandfather hailed from Iraq, and Will told us what happened when he met refugees fleeing the same area: 

"It was only matter of circumstance, that I was there trying to help them, it could easily have been the other way round. In the UK it is often easy to forget that people fleeing war are teachers, doctors, students and normal people just like us. I wanted to do something to make people think about this."

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Andres Solorzano

Andres is a Mexican-born cinematographer and filmmaker who has been working with social orientated stories for the past 6 years. Native indigenous cultures and immigration have always been part of his life, his father’s family originally from Arriaga, is now spread all over the world. For Andres, migration is “something that we can find in all living beings and the history of humans have been influenced in huge ways because of it. The criminalisation of this human behaviour is one to the topics I decided to fight a long time ago. Moving images is how I fight.”

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Thales Corrêa

Thales Corrêa was born and raised in Brazil and moved to the USA to study cinema in Los Angeles. He has been living as an immigrant for almost six years now, most of the people in his college were immigrants as well as the majority of the cast and crew of his films. In his short film, Thales explores some common misconceptions of the term ‘migration’ in the USA: “In the USA, immigrants are living a delicate moment during the current presidential campaign, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about what migration means, so I saw this contest as a good opportunity to try to explore its positive sides." 

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Tim Gregory

When filmmaker Tim Gregory returned from Lesvos, he was left with this impression: “What had struck me the most about my time in Greece was not the misery but the kindness. It felt like an observation that was missing from the public discourse so I was very happy for the opportunity afforded to me by this video competition to express it, using the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut that had come to me in so many quiet moments of contemplation in my hotel room in Greece: Goddammit, you've got to be kind."

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Charlotte Manicom

Charlotte Manicom works at the Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, who provide free legal advice to refugees and migrants. Working with migrating youth, she is constantly amazed at the resilience and creativity of these young people despite their circumstances. When asked about the inspiration behind her work, Charlotte explains: “this is a piece that looks at the desperate measures that Allan is driven to due to strict migration controls - but it also celebrates his strong spirit, his abilities and his strength.” She hopes this video can counter the cliché image of a 'migrant', and can encourage reflection on statelessness and its consequences. 

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Filippo Brachetti and Natasha Bowler

After visiting with a friend the two main camps in Lesvos, Moria and Kara Tepe, and seeing the striking differences between the two - FiIippo believed more than ever that it was a story that needed to be told. With his video, Filippo wanted to help humanize the refugee crisis in the eyes of others: “The refugee crisis is not made of faceless numbers and problems for our economies and societies. Behind every refugee there is a story, a person struggling, a human being going through what is probably the most difficult moment of his/her life. And we can, and should, help making this moment a little bit less difficult.”

Natasha Bowler is a journalist and documentary filmmaker specialising in the Gulf, Iran, Syria and the refugee crisis. She has reported and made documentaries for publications including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Reuters and more. Earlier this year, she spent several months volunteering with refugees in Lesbos, Greece, and reporting on the crisis

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Hamza Bangash

Hamza chose to participate in our migration competition having experienced its impact first-hand. His grandparents moved to Pakistan after partition, abandoning their ancestral homes and community- with the ramifications of their migration still affecting his family to this day. Hamza tells us his thoughts on using art as a medium of communication: “I am horrified by the current situation in Syria. I believe it is the duty of artists, and filmmakers especially, to create content that speaks to current issues.”

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Alice Sassu

Whilst filming this short documentary, Alice tells us how when refugees from sub-Saharan Africa arrived in Sardinia, she found they were faced with tough immigration bureaucracy and a lackluster job market and thus locals had to find a different way to get them involved in the community. That’s how ASD PAGI, Italy’s first all-migrant soccer team to be allowed to play in a regional football league, was formed.  Alice told us what she learnt from meeting all the players: “I learned that hospitality means creating the right environment for a social and human integration. I learned that sport could be a fun way to allow this integration. I learned from the young guys that the immigration facilitates cultural exchanges necessary to create a human identity of the future based on mutual solidarity.”

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Katherine Evans

After visiting ‘The Jungle’ in Calais, Katherine was determined to write 'In Their Shoes' to try and inspire people to think differently and consider, even if just for a moment, what it would be like to: “The situation that has driven these innocent people away from their countries is no different to one we could have to live through if the shoe were on the other foot - I hope my piece speaks to the hearts of all those who haven't had to experience the crisis first hand and makes them see the situation through a different pair of eyes.”

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Riffy Ahmed

Riffy made this short film after meeting Mariam Yusuf who fled gender-based violence in Somalia and settled in the UK in 2008 but is still destitute of legal status here. Stories like these are becoming more and more common but also misunderstood- Mariam had not only embarked on a very dangerous journey to survive, but to also lead and support other women along the way. For Riffy, her film presents “a heartwarming portrait of a woman at a time where the narrative of migration and displacement is often misunderstood or dehumanised and it's important to remember each and every story is unique and more human that we could imagine.” 

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