EVENT – 5th Annual UNHCR Film Festival in HK

The 5th annual UN Refugee Agency film festival kicks off on June 20th at Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque. All tickets are $65 – each film is shown twice.

The UNHCR do a lot here in Hong Kong to care for displaced peoples who are sidelined by the local government as they await rehabilitation in more welcoming nations. Trailers and synopsis for all the films being shown are below.

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Children of War:

Filmed in the war-zone of northern Uganda over a period of three years by Director Bryan Single. ‘Children of War’ is a unique and incandescent documentary which follows a group of former child soldiers as they escape the battlefield, enter a rehabilitation center, and undergo a process of trauma therapy and emotional healing. Having been abducted from their homes and schools and forced to become fighters by the Lord’s Resistance Army – a quasi-religious militia led by self-proclaimed prophet and war criminal Joseph Kony – the children struggle to confront and break through years of captivity, extreme religious indoctrination, and participation in war crimes with the help of a team of trauma counselors. As these fearless allies guide the children forward into new lives, Children of War illuminates a powerful and cathartic story of forgiveness and hope in the aftermath of war.

Desert Flower:

The autobiography of a Somalian nomad circumcised at 3, sold in marriage at 13, fled from Africa a while later to become finally an American supermodel and is now at the age of 38, the UN spokeswoman against circumcision.

Enemies of the People:

The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who spends a decade of his life gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit throats to Pol Pot’s right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath records shocking testimony never before seen or heard. Having neglected his own family for years, Sambath’s work comes at a price. But his is a personal mission. He lost his parents and his siblings in the Killing Fields. Amidst his journey to discover why his family died, we come to understand for the first time the real story of Cambodia’s tragedy.

For a Moment Freedom:

For a Moment Freedom tells of the odyssey of three Iranians groups of refugees: a married couple with a child, two young men with two children, and two men who are friends despite the differences between them… They have all managed to escape from Iran and Iraq, but now they are stuck in the Turkish capital; although freedom is at last almost within their grasp, first they have to wait in a dubious hotel, hoping each day that their applications for asylum will be approved. This enforced break in their journey towards independence is characterised by both hope and utter uncertainty.

My Rohingya:

This is the story of a woman reporter from Thailand whose coverage of the Rohingya people began in early 2009 after the Western media reported that the Thai navy was putting illegal Muslim Rohingya refugees aboard boats with no engines and leaving them on the high seas to fend for themselves. The Thai reporter becomes a backpacking journalist, travelling to different places to meet Rohingya immigrants of different ages in a bid to find out why they decided to leave their motherland. She also visits a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Palestine in the South:

After the war in Iraq, thousands of Palestinians have become refugees in no mans land. The faraway Republic of Chile has welcomed some of them to live in the small city of La Calera, as it did over 100 years ago with Palestinian immigrants escaping Ottoman oppression… Today, like a century ago, the journey repeats itself… Basem, a young Palestinan who arrived with his wife and young daughter, faces his new country full of enthusiasm, ingenuousness and hope, longing for a place to call home in an unknown, seductive and contradictory world, thousands of kilometers from his homeland… In his new country, Basem recovers his trade as baker and sets up his own business. He hopes his efforts, together with the help of the big community of Palestinian descendants, will lead him to accomplish his dream: to bring his elderly parents, still trapped at the refugee camp, to live with him again, now in Chile.


In 2007, a wave of desperate African refugees, many from Darfur, crosses the desert border into Israel. Empty-handed and journeying onfoot, they contend with dangerous conditions on the Egypt-Israel border in a frantic attempt to reach safety. The film crew follows not only these refugees but also a group of Israeli volunteers who challenge their own government’s position.

Directions to Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque from Yau Ma Tei MTR:

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