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Saturday, October 15, 2022


A live zoom discussion titled Migration and Displacement on Film featuring directors of the films Silent Land, The Emigrants and As Far as I Can Walk and a local sociology academic and migration specialist, will take place during the European Film Festival on Monday October 17 at 18h00.

A report just released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicates that that the total of displaced persons in the world has now topped 100,000,000! The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies notes that the number of forcibly-displaced people (internally-displaced, refugees, asylum seekers) in Africa continued its uninterrupted escalation over the past decade - expanding by 12 percent in the past year to over 36 million people.

Forced displacement is an outcome of conflict, violence, and persecution usually of a religious, national, social, racial, or political nature, but also including reasons such as gender or sexual orientation. There are other causes too; droughts, floods, earthquakes, weather disasters, and the impacts of climate change. Then there are a wide range of migrants who are not necessarily refugees, from migrant children, migrant workers, economic migrants to migrants simply seeking another way of life. Even the word migrant is a contested term considered by some as demeaning and dehumanising. 

Whatever the terminology, it is a subject that precipitates cultural divisions and sometimes violent responses. But migration is not new, it has been happening since time immemorial as people assimilate into new environments often bringing positive social, economic and cultural contributions to their newfound societies. It is a global reality that demands cooperative understanding and practical solutions.

Film, of course, is a powerful and socially-influential medium that plays an active role in shaping our thoughts, feelings and opinions about migrants and migration. In the Live Zoom discussion Migration and Displacement on Film during the European Film Festival in South Africa, three filmmakers whose films touch on migration in different ways will explore the messaging film conveys about this highly topical subject.

The filmmakers, all directors of films showing in this year’s festival, are Aga Woszczyńska (Polish director of Silent Land), Erik Poppe (Norwegian director of The Emigrants), and Stefan Arsenijevíc (Serbian director of As Far As I Can Walk). Bringing local contexts and perspectives to the discussion is migration specialist Prof Pragna Rugunanan, Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. 

Moderated by Liza Aziz of Fineline Productions, this Live Zoom event takes place at 18h00 on Monday, October 17.

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Details of session (and to access the zoom link on Oct 17 at 18h00) on this link:


The European Film Festival 2022 is a partnership project of the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa and 14 European embassies and national cultural institutes in South Africa: the embassies of Austria, Belgium, Georgia, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the British Council, Instituto Camoes (Portugal), French Institute of South Africa, Goethe-Institut, Italian Cultural Institute and Wallonie-Bruxelles International. The festival is organised in cooperation with Cineuropa and coordinated by Creative WorkZone.