Each year many thousands of people try to reach Europe through the socalled Balkan route. Thousands of kilometers of mountains, woods and escarpments linking Evros, the last tuskish city, and Trieste, first point of entry to Italy and to Central Europe. A journey in search of a better life for those who are fleeing from wars, political persecution, economic crisis and environmental degradation.
“Un gioco da ragazzi” is a feature-length documentary project in five chapters which chronicles the complexities of this great migration phenomenon. It tells the stories of refugees and migrants transiting through the route, as well as of local and international communities. The documentary investigates the condition of suspension that characterizes the lives of those who undertake these journeys, to find themselves stuck for months to years in Balkan tightened borders, and try repeatedly - sometimes desperately - to cross the frontier during the so-called game. The game, as it is called by people in transit, consists precisely in the attempt to cross the border, walking in the woods for days or hiding under truck trailers and cargo trains. This is being done in order to escape the checks by the police, who reject those who try to overpass using sistematic violence and torture.
The film depicts these dynamics starting from some specific places along the Balkan route, offering an up-close and comprehensive perspective on a situation often ignored by the media and public opinion. Patras and Thessaloniki in Greece, Šid in Serbia, Bihać in Bosnia, Trieste in Italy: nonplaces where refugees and migrants live in extreme conditions, without water or electricity, in abandoned factories or in tents hidden in the woods, from which one can glimpse that border which they desperately try to cross, willing to fulfil the dream of a better future in Europe.
Through the production of a feature-length documentary, which becomes declinable in many ways, our long-term goal is to draw attention to one of the most relevant migration phenomena in recent years. We wish to help build civic awareness of migration and foster the creation of a tangible creative space of exchange for and between refugees, activists and broader audiences. This project aims to strengthen the voice of people on the move and those of refugee solidarity organizations operating on border regions of the migration route in Western Balkans and Greece. Because of their shared location at the EU external border and their relationship as points of entry, transit and destination, they are related to each other.
The project was born with the aim to raise awareness as well as to report the violations of human dignity and the violent border policies affecting the migration route. Even though the problem of rejections cannot be solved overnight, we are interested to show how European citizens actually can and have mobilized. Among that of various partners, the project has already caught the interest of the European Cultural Foundation which has allocated € 40,000 to support it.