Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Germany
Political Geographies, Social Geographies
In 2015-16, Europe was the destination of nearly one million refugees, the majority of whom traveled a historic migratory route through the Balkans to reach Germany. This film examines the trace left by this exodus among those who have witnessed it along the way with a mix of testimonies and analysis of people whose lives were transformed by these journeys.
The film aimed to grasp traces, testimonies and memories of the 2015 exodus on the Balkan route. Each protagonist was met on a step of the exodus route, and the whole movie is tracing back the exiles’ journey from Turkey to Germany in 2015-2016. Departing from massive arrival images leaving feelings of “invasion” and crisis in people’s mind, the documentary sought to reach individual perspectives. This posture is fundamental to challenge the dehumanizing process conveyed by imprecise macro data and schematic description of migration trajectories. Gathering testimonies of volunteers and local people confronted to this new migratory reality was also a way to address the gap between the watcher posture and the migrants’ experience, creating a room for identification with the overall situation. The witnesses of exile are from different gender, professional and cultural backgrounds, each of them adding their own story and vision to the big picture. The project aimed to document the lasting consequences of these migrations on people’s minds and lives, traces without physical materiality that needed to be preserved and disseminated.
It was my very first filming experience, with a Go-pro Camera and a micro generally used to make interviews with respondents during the research. I realized, when the idea of making a documentary came out of visioning the images, that I really grasped each encounter in a “social scientist way”. I learned much more about the filmmaker reflexes, such as the enlightenment of the background, and other fundamental aspects by working with the Film editor.
The encounters were filmed with a very little amount of camera movements and a cuts and in order to give an immersive feeling to the viewed. It was also a filming laboratory for me.
As the director of the Canada research chair on global migration, filming this migratory road was a meaningful process in order to make visible and understandable the complexity of migration phenomenon. Doing this two years after the beginning of the exodus was a conscious choice, in order to go out of the “emergency temporality” to reach the traces and collect them. It is an attempt to turn it into an “heritage”. It also, on its pedagogic dimension, show the setup of a social science research through conversations and co-construction of qualitative data. This kind of support can illustrate courses and give an overview of semi-guided interviews for the students.
A wonderful documentary about the Balkan migration. Very compelling narrative style with clear narration. Well financed with map animations and animated respondents.
For the requirement of a short film, this film can be also be screened in 3 segments.