By Suzanne Tisserand
On Tuesday, July 25th the Department of Public Information launched a screening of the
short film “No Monsters In Berlin” at the New York Headquarters. This special showing was
organized at the margin of the fourth thematic discussion of the Global Compact on Migration
currently taking place at the United Nations. The film was followed by a discussion with
cinematographer Matt Sutter, producer Andrea Vozny as well as director and co-author Kate
“No monsters in Berlin” narrates the story of Jaya, an Indian immigrant running from a past of
domestic violence in her home country as she tries to rebuild her life in Berlin. Working as a
nanny, she spends her weekends teaching German language classes in a refugee camp.
Her personal story forms a bound with Muazz, a newly arrived Syrian refugee attending her
According to the production team, the movie aims to go beyond the experience of exile by
telling the story of resettlement and integration to a new society. To reach this goal, Syrian
refugees now living in Berlin were involved throughout the entire creation process from
members of cast to crew and creative team.
“It was one thing to make a story about Syrians and create a story that could possibly offer
different perspectives to people, but another to make it with them. It changed our own
perspectives” – declared Andrea Vozny. “I feel like art is the one unique thing in the world that
has the opportunity to create space and help contribute to the process of integration.”
With very little budget, the film was shot within a week in different Berlin locations. “We
wanted to make a film quickly and cheaply to show that is was possible” – director and co-
author Kate Holland explained to the audience.
In partnership with the United Nations led TOGETHER campaign this movie contributes to
the global movement advocating for inclusion rather than stigmatization of asylum seekers.
Launched in 2016, TOGETHER is a global initiative aiming to change negative perceptions
and attitudes towards newcomers by promoting respect, safety and dignity for refugees and
migrants within host countries.
“It is great to see representatives from the UN System, from civil society, from creative
community come together, this is exactly what we are aiming for in order to make sure that
this campaign is successful” – said Janos Tissovsky, chief of the Strategic Communications
Division at the Department of Public Information.
The movie is currently being presented in the festival circuit with several international
selections, amongst which the Pune Short Film Festival in India, the River Film Festival in
Padova Italy, the Speak Up Film Festival in Australia and the Berlin Short Film Festival. In
France, “No Monsters in Berlin” won the Jury Prize at the Diversity In Cannes Short Film
Going further, the production team is working on a feature-length based on some of the story
lines from the short film and would like to engage in more advocacy and partnerships to
create bounds between art and policy, like their cooperation with the TOGETHER campaign.
Source: EuropaNewswire Photo: Luiz Rampelotto