Vibrant Migration Film Festival in Mesoamerica

25 January, 2017

Without a doubt, cinema is a powerful tool to inform and raise awareness. This was demonstrated once again in the framework of the Global Migration Film Festival, when hundreds of people gathered to reflect on documentaries and films about migration. The Global Migration Film Festival, launched by IOM in more than 50 countries, supports the United Nations global campaign "Together", aimed at counteracting some of the misinformation and misperceptions about migrants.

Under this objective, the Mesoamerica Program joined the initiative and promoted multiple cinema forums with audiences as diverse as relevant in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. "We have participated with enthusiasm in this Global Film Festival because we are convinced that it is through art and spaces like these that we can contribute in creating more knowledge about the essential issues that constitute our initiative: raising awareness on the subject of migration in high-risk communities, to promote the human rights of migrants, to combat discrimination and to make visible the risks that irregular migration can bring for many people using this migratory corridor that is Mesoamerica. This is the essence of our “InformArte en Movimiento” campaign, which is part of this set of activities "said Alexandra Bonnie, Program Coordinator.

On the southern border of Paso Canoas, between Costa Rica and Panama, more than 80 people, representatives of institutions from both countries, university students, and high school students, gathered in the cinema of that small cross-border town to attend a bi-national projection. The Costa Rican documentary “Exodus” was exhibited, which tells the story on the internal migration of an indigenous girl in order to study in the metropolitan area; and the documentary "El Engaño". It was then followed by a film forum on which IOM, the Office of the Ombudsman and the director of the documentary, Florence Jaugey participated.


"I like that this festival is involving young people because we are the present and the future. After this event, we know better our rights and the rights of people emigrating, or those who come to our country" said Jarol Salazar, one of the young participants at the festival, a youth local promoter in the Southern Border of Costa Rica.

 In Rio Claro, about 40 kilometers from the border area in Costa Rica, a group of 15 migrants, mostly Haitian, broke their routine at the migrant shelter and reflected on the dangers of irregular migration in the screening of another documentary. This last one was co-produced by IOM and focused on migrant women who have empowered themselves in defending their rights, especially their labor rights.

In the central region of Costa Rica, in La Carpio, a community characterized by the high presence of immigrants, mainly of Nicaraguan origin, IOM held a third forum. This event was attended by people of different nationalities along with artists and activists. In Tapachula, Mexico's southern border, the projection brought together more than 250 people, showing interest in the issue and the need to promote social cohesion between migrants and local communities. In Nicaragua, a presentation of the same selection of films was made, this time in alliance with the Central American University in Managua.