The International Organization for Migration hosted the first in-person Global Migration Film Festival in Washington, D.C. since 2019 on January 25, 2030. The event took place in Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, presenting Buoyancy, a film inspired by actual events, telling the story of a 14-year-old Cambodian who boy becomes a victim of human trafficking when he is enslaved on a fishing trawler. 


The event started with the welcoming remarks from Liz Lizama, Head of IOM Washington Communications, followed by a video message from Nihal Saad, Chief of Cabinet & Spokesperson for the High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

After that, the audience had a chance to preview the shorts of  the 2022 PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival winners. For the past 14 years, the UNAOC and IOM have invited youth filmmakers from around the world to submit short videos that explore the topics of migration, diversity, social inclusion and the prevention of xenophobia. The videos presented were:

  • • “Adventure in Other Seas” by Daniel Anaya, Diego López, Ariel Pino and Paula Sánchez (Spain) 
  • • “Holding on to the Corn” by Itzia Crespo, Luke Simmons and Karina Domínguez (United States of America) 
  • • “My Voice Me Too” by Angela Chiquin Chitay and Robinson Yat (Guatemala) 

After Brenden Varma, Deputy Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Washington, D.C. gave his remarks followed by Rodd Rathjen to start watching Buoyancy.

Finally Vincent Houver, IOM Washington Chief of Mission, introduced the panel discussion, where moderator Anne Richard, USA for IOM Board Member and former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, had the opportunity to generate awareness and prompt discussion around critical migration issues through the lens of cinema with the panelists:

  • Rodd Rathjen, Director of Buoyancy film  
  • Evelyn Chumbow, Operations Manager & Survivor Advocate with The Human Trafficking Legal Center
  • Marcia Eugenio, Director of the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs

The seventh annual Global Migration Film Festival is brought to you by:

Presenting Partner:

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