Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, working to help ensure the orderly and humane management of this global phenomenon. Over the years, films have been used to inform, entertain, educate and provoke debate. It is in this spirit that IOM launched the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) in 2016. Last year, an Official Selection of 42 films led to over 500 screenings in 104 countries around the world, attended by a global audience of over 30,000 people.

The goal of the Festival is to pave the way for greater discussion around one of the greatest phenomena of our time: migration. Furthermore, it is an innovative avenue for normalizing discussions of migration through storytelling, and an advocacy tool that can draw attention to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thus helping all nations as they work to meet them.


The Global Migration Film Festival has an itinerant and unique format. The films that make up the Official Selection are included in a list which is then shared with about 100 IOM offices and partners worldwide. Each participating country office will then select the films to be screened locally during the Festival, which runs from 28 November – 18 December 2019, worldwide.

Filmmakers will receive a final list of countries where their films will be screened by mid-November. Films can be screened in impromptu scenarios, from traditional cinemas and universities worldwide, to open-air theatres in the desert in Niger and detention centers in Libya. All screenings are entrance free. This means that IOM needs the authorization from the films' rightsholder(s) to host screenings without territory and frequency limitations for the duration of the Festival.

/ Full-length features (TRT over 41 minutes) – to be part of the official selection of the Global Migration Film Festival. The best film selected by an International Jury receives a 1,000 US cash prize.

/ Short Films (films between 15 and 40 minutes) - to be part of the official selection of the Global Migration Film Festival. The best film selected by an International Jury receives 500 US cash prize.

Other prizes will be announced later this year.

*Deadline for entry*

Films of all genres (feature, documentary, animation, etc.) and lengths will be accepted from July 9 – August 9, 2019.

*Festival theme*

All submissions should portray the challenges and promises of migration, and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Films that tackle negative perceptions of migrants, defy stereotypes and portray positive and welcoming actions by and toward migrants are encouraged.


Films should be in English or subtitled in English. Subtitles are encouraged, even if the dialogue is in English, to ensure maximum comprehension for global audiences.

Films in other languages are encouraged but must have subtitles in English.

*Production year*

Films completed on or after January 1, 2016, are eligible for consideration.


Films may only be submitted by individuals with the legal right to negotiate the use of the work.

*Film selections*

The festival will inform applicants by mid-August if their film is selected.
For each selected film, either the filmmaker or the individual responsible for the submission should be prepared to provide relevant still images, a trailer, the filmmaker's biography, a photo of the film’s director and the transcripts for subtitling.

*There is no fee to submit films.*

*Films produced with any financial support from IOM are eligible for the competition, but not eligible for grants*

The GMFF is organized as part of TOGETHER, a United Nations campaign that promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Recognizing that negative rhetoric surrounding migrants can spread quickly online, IOM developed the TOGETHER app – a digital tool for sharing positive stories and actions to counter xenophobia. All GMFF applicants should share images from their films, along with a brief explanation of how it relates to migration, via the app for increased visibility. Updates and information about the Festival will also be delivered through the TOGETHER App; download it for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Overall Rating
  • Good festival, excellent communication and distribution of screenings. Always attentive to our needs as selected.

    May 2019
  • Good Festival, with many locations.
    Communication is not always up-to-date, due to big number of locations, but they surely do all theit best.

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review! 106 countries participated in the Festival in 2018.
    We will do our best to keep improving the communication next year. Happy 2019!

  • What an incredible festival. I highly recommend it. IOM is an incredible organization with an important aim. They were receptive and communicative throughout the entire process and treated me with respect. It was wonderful to see my short film playing worldwide. Thank you for this opportunity.

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your support. Your short film 'Unbroken Paradise', has been screened in many countries. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have your film in our Festival.

  • Cosima Frei

    The communication with the festival was excellent and I think it is a very valuable event, which we all should support.

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your support. We had 42 films in the Official Selection List this year, which cover a wide range of migration topics. There were also many post-screening debates to provide safe space for the audience to discuss the related topics. We hope to keep growing and improving the Festival each year. Happy 2019!


    I'm very happy to screen my film in Global Migration Film festival. It's a very good expérience !! And i can show my film in many countries.

    December 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your submission. Your short film 'Hidden' was a great contribution to the GMFF.