Three documentaries to tell the stories of third millenary exiles

The trilogy

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Maya Reggi

Raffaella Spizzichino


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According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2014 more than 59.5 million people had been forced to abandon their homes due to conflicts, humanitarian, socio-political and environmental crises. 51% of this population are children under 18. If these 59.5 million persons were a nation, they would make up the 24th largest in the world. Three quarters of these refugees are still in a situation of “long term exile” with no prospect of going back home.

These numbers describe a permanent forced exile for hundreds of thousands of people who, year after year set out, risking their lives to escape death, persecution or poverty they would be faced with if they stayed where they had always lived, often leaving behind everything they loved most.

Studies maintain that the refugee population will continue to grow throughout the next decade, also in new and diverse forms. New connotations will be determined by demographic growth, especially in Africa and Asia; by urbanization, which will create a growing number of urban refugees; by climate change and natural disasters which cause millions of exiles every year; by the rising cost of food resulting from urbanization and a reduction in agricultural production in Africa and Asia, as well as by increasing conflicts that could cause the de-population of entire areas.

The Project

Clipper Media production together with RAI Cinema have produced three documentary movies about refugees. In recent years, Clipper Media and RAI Cinema have worked together in many documentaries concerning human rights.

Barbara Cupisti, an Italian multi-awarded documentary film director, who has focused her work on the most vulnerable people, directs the three documentaries. From 2007 to 2015 she directed 10 documentary movies on human rights issues; her movie Mothers (90 min), shown in the Venice Film Festival 2007, won the 2008 David di Donatello for Best Documentary of the year and for one of her last works, Fratelli e sorelle, storie di carcere – the first documentary to be filmed inside overcrowded Italian prisons – won the prestigious Ilaria Alpi National Journalism award.

The project consists of three documentaries, each of them about an hour long.

The first one is dedicated to those who flee from their homes because of wars and conflicts. It was shot in Jordan, Turkey and Kenya and implemented with the collaboration of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who has conceded its High Patronage.

The second is dedicated to the Tibetan diaspora who fled from Tibet due to political and religious persecution. It was shot in India, in particular, in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile, and in Ladakh, the so-called “Little Tibet of India”.

The third one tells the stories of ecological refugees, who are facing the effects of climate change, desertification, depletion of resources and compulsory migrations caused by the exploitation of natural resources. It has received the patronage of Amnesty International. It is shot in Brazil, where the Guaranì people are suffering and disappearing because of the destruction of the Mato Grosso forest, and in California, which is facing one of the most severe drought on record and has started, for the first time, to ration the use of water by private citizens.

For the research needed to prepare the three documentaries, we have benefited of the support of authoritative sources, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Embassies of the countries in question, various local and international non-profit organizations (Action Aid, Survival International, International Campaign for Tibet) who constantly provide assistance to exiles and refugees.

RAI TV will guarantee distribution of this project through television and film festivals. Furthermore, the humanitarian organizations involved in the project, such as UNHCR and Amnesty International, will contribute to the distribution through festivals dedicated to human rights.

Prizes and Awards