Explore a selection of short films, photo essays + articles created by the One World Media alumni.
23 mins | Three women strive to shape their futures in the face of economic
decline and inequality in Turkey’s Black Sea tea-picking communities.
Harvesting Turkey's Tea
Directed by Sheida Kiran
18 mins | A Kenyan woman sets out to help other parents struggling with child loss, amidst stigma that tells them to simply move on by having another child.
Utapata Mwingine (You Will Get Another One)
Directed by Lydia Matata
India’s frontliners battle with the surge in COVID infections and deaths amid dire shortages of hospital beds and oxygen.
India’s COVID Warriors
Directed by Prashun Mazumdar and Suyash Shrivastava
Pakistani fishing communities struggle inside the nets of bonded labour.
Freedom on the Line
Written by Alizeh Kohari
A human rights activist was imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 for a crime he says he did not commit. Ever since, his wife has campaigned for his release.
Last Chance for Justice
Directed by Marina Shupac
A few brave Yazidi women in Armenia have bucked tradition and sought a university education, to uplift not only themselves but their whole community.
Education in the Shadow of Early Marriage
Photojournalism by Hermine Virabian
On Central America’s deepest lake, Indigenous communities battle against a $215m wastewater project proposed by environmentalists.
The Grandmother Lake
Written by Arwa Aburawa
A disillusioned Palestinian teenager escapes the isolation of his daily life by creating a new persona that becomes an online sensation: The Wifi Rider.
Directed by Roxy Rezvany
Bucharest’s crumbling and neglected buildings are still full of life despite the frequent earth tremors.
Europe’s Most Dangerous Capital
Reported & Produced by Simona Rata
One man, his son and grandson continue their ancient practice of harvesting the purple ink of a rare sea snail in southern Mexico.
Directed by Rhys Lewis & Valeria Luongo
In a post-Soviet Siberian town, factory workers are still coming to terms with a new way of working, as they reflect on the past heights of the Space Race.
A story of one Soviet factory
Directed by Nadya Gorodetskaya
A Moroccan shepherd named Radia reflects on her destiny, and connects with the land that both gives and takes from her.
Directed by Erica Beebe
23 mins | The committed mortuary workers who reunite unidentified bodies on the streets of Karachi with their families.
Pakistan's Unknown Dead
Directed by Owen Kean
11 mins | A young man who has filmed himself since he was a teenager, struggles with weight loss and depression.
Directed by Mohamed Shalaby
10 mins | La Tranxtienda is a space where the transgender community can meet, hidden from the judgement of society.
Living in the closet with style
Directed by Ismael Egui Saad
A group of women in Senegal seek out new farming methods to save their villages.
The energy to stay
Directed by Carlotta Dotto
13 mins | A film about childhood trauma and the effects that abuse had on his sense of self worth
A Childhood on Fire
Directed by Jason Hanasik
21 mins | Boniface Kadzamira, an independent MP, fights for the legalisation of industrial hemp.
Directed by Alice McCool
China is waging a digital war on its Muslim minorities, but in Istanbul, a digital resistance has begun.
Uyghur women fighting China's surveillance state
Directed by Isobel Cockerell
25 mins | Heba represents a growing trend among young Iraqis who find in South Korea a vision for the future.
Korean Lovers in Baghdad
Directed by Arij Al-Soltan
2 mins | In the harsh Himalayan winter, India’s Women’s Ice Hockey Team are taking charge of their future.
Directed by Cosima Barzini
15 mins | For years the Chinese city of Yiwu has welcomed business-savvy Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans and Iraqis.
Living the Chinese Dream
Directed by Chen Shanshan
14 mins | Panamanians hope that the national football team will be a catalyst for positive change.
What World Cup Qualification Really Meant To Panama
Directed by Dan Faber
25 mins | Two Sudanese inventors are determined to stop the desert from swallowing up their country.
Sudan's First Flying Robot Farmer
Directed by Lucy Provan
How a UK community helped after the Nepal Earthquake.
Written by Joshua Smith
Science of Resistance
Directed by Larissa Karl
10 mins | Pressured into conforming to heterosexual expectations, LGBT women seek refuge working in garment factories.
Cambodia's Underground LGBT Community
Directed by Eve Watling
Uganda's open policy allows refugees to start a new life—and even a new business. But not all of them thrive.
Life as a Refugee in Uganda Is Full of Opportunity & Frustration
Written by Anna Patton
39 mins | Limpiadores (meaning ‘Cleaners’ in Spanish) follows the history of the SOAS Justice for Cleaners campaign.
Directed by Fernando Mitjáns
12 mins | Dedicated nurses play a key role in helping rape survivors in South Africa, yet their future is threatened by a funding crisis.
Forensic Nurses: Fighting Sex Crimes in South Africa
Directed by Simisola Jolaoso
22 mins | Three old men react differently to the ruthless fact that they have to leave their homes in their eighties.
Little Garden /小花园
Directed by Jiang Chao
9 mins | A short film following Misha, a radio DJ in Russia, as he navigates the challenges of living with mental illness.
Directed by Tatsiana Yanutsevich
Directed by Joshua Smith
Every month we spotlight one of the brilliant short films, photo essays or articles created by the One World Media alumni. Featuring exclusive Q+As with the filmmakers and journalists, these spotlights will explore how they developed their stories and the lessons they learned along the way.
‘Malawi Gold’ is known as one of the finest cannabis strains on the planet. But can it transform the economy of this small southeastern African nation? This film follows Boniface Kadzamira, an independent MP fighting for the legalisation of industrial hemp (Malawi Gold’s lesser known cousin), and Ras Bongo Maseko, a Rastafarian priest, musician and long time campaigner for marijuana legalisation.
For years the Chinese city of Yiwu has welcomed business-savvy Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans and Iraqis. Although China does not have laws recognising refugees, it has granted visas to migrants who want to set up businesses or pursue higher education in the country. This film by the Thomson Reuters Foundation tells the stories of three people. Ammar Albaadani first came to China from Yemen 19 years ago as a student on a state scholarship. When fighting in his country escalated three years ago, he decided to settle in Yiwu. Manar Abdulhussein, 38, left behind bombings and attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad five years ago and moved her family business to Yiwu with her husband and sons. Mike, a 24-year-old actor from Syria, who goes by his professional name, is a newcomer to the city. Mike, whose student visa expires soon, plans to apply for a business visa, and hopes to achieve permanent residency one day. Yet that is difficult to achieve under China’s immigration rules which are among the strictest in the world for foreigners seeking permanent residency. As a result, many of the city’s migrants are worried about how long they will be able to stay in what has become their second home.
Called ‘little garden’, this old community is in the city center of Jinhua, China, which will be demolished soon. This film will see how three old men react differently to the ruthless fact that they have to leave their homes in their eighties.
Feyisa Lilesa completed the marathon at the Rio Olympics with his arms raised in a gesture of defiance against the Ethiopian government. For many this was their first glimpse of the trouble brewing in this largely peaceful East African country.
But protests over land rights and political exclusion have been gathering momentum for almost a year, especially amongst the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. A government crackdown has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 500 protesters.
Running from Ethiopia tells the story of Muaz, a student who fled Ethiopia after being detained and tortured by security forces, and Jawar, who runs a popular Oromo TV channel from exile in Minneapolis. Jawar’s channel closely followed the story of Muaz as he made the treacherous journey to Europe, only to be caught in one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks of 2016.
Seeds of Inspiration: Sudan's First Flying Robot Farmer
25 mins | Sudan | One World Media Fellowship
Hatem and Mohammed are two Sudanese inventors determined to stop the desert from swallowing up their country. They are obsessed with drones and robots and even though they are isolated by international sanctions and frustrated by a failing economy they succeed in building Sudan’s first robot farmer.
They decide to take part in a local inventor’s television competition to raise awareness and investment in their dream – Sudan’s first and only agricultural drone company. Their drone can plant trees, increase harvests and reduce crop damage. And they are bound by their shared belief that Africa can change its destiny with technology.
Love In The Factories: Cambodia's Underground LGBT Community
10 mins | Cambodia | One World Media Fellowship
Love In The Factories: LGBT individuals are not tolerated in Cambodia, where gay marriage is illegal. Pressured into conforming to heterosexual expectations, many LGBT women seek refuge by going to work in garment factories.
55,000 Cambodians are victims of forced marriage each year, while 50% believe that homosexuality is caused by karma from a past life. Sor Kanika, an LGBT woman from Phnom Penh whose sexuality was unacceptable to her parents, escaped to a local factory: “I had to leave home so I could have more freedom”. Many Cambodian women find greater liberty in factories, but such safe spaces are not wholly free from predominant social expectations. Houn Sorphon fell in love with her girlfriend at work, but her parents separated them by forcing Houn to change jobs. “I was heartbroken”, she recalls, reflecting on the injustice of most Cambodians’ outlook: “love is all the same”.
It was 11.56am on Saturday April 25 2015 when everything started shaking. A devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal. Over the next 24 hours, 35 aftershocks above 4.0 magnitude hit the country. The National Seismological Centre, located in Kathmandu, recorded a total of 3,000 aftershocks in the following 45 days.
Heba is a young Iraqi woman with a good job as an electrical engineer and the prospect of a decent future. Heba represents a new and growing trend among young Iraqis who find in South Korea a vision for the future. While life in Iraq seems chaotic and unpredictable, South Korea offers them an enticing example of order and stability.
But moving to South Korea is a huge undertaking. Heba risks losing her job and, along with it, her family’s main source of income. Not all of her family are supportive of it.
Korean Lovers in Baghdad follows Heba on an emotional journey as she pursues her dream and goes in search of her place in the world, encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way.
Forensic Nurses: Fighting Sex Crimes in South Africa
12 mins | South Africa | One World Media Fellowship
Forensic nurses assist victims of sexual crimes in South Africa, through counselling, physical examinations and testifying against perpetrators. Despite their high success rate in convicting rapists and abusers, in a country where only 14% of them go to jail, forensic nursing as a profession faces extinction.
What World Cup Qualification Really Meant To Panama
14 mins | Panama | One World Media Fellowship
Down and Out: In Panama’s poorest areas, poverty and gang violence threaten the future of young people. But Panamanians hope that the national football team’s participation at the World Cup will be a catalyst for positive change.
This short film highlights the challenges faced by those living with mental illness in Russia. The central figure of it is Misha, a radio DJ whose main hope in life is a chance for being part of the crew.
Limpiadores (meaning ‘Cleaners’ in Spanish) follows the history of the SOAS Justice for Cleaners campaign and provides a glimpse into the daily routine of Consuelo Moreno Yusti – a key figure in the campaign.
11 mins | Saudi Arabia & Turkey | Global Short Docs Forum
51 Kilos is about a young man who has filmed himself since he was a teenager struggling to lose weight. He finally realises the source of his happiness is not in his physical self but in his mental wellbeing, and a new struggle begins.
In Karachi, Pakistan, a man dies alone in an abandoned building. He is collected by an organisation which cares for the bodies of the destitute, the lost and the victims of violence in this mega-city – and the search for his identity begins.
Documentary short film about “La Tranxtienda”, a place in Bogota, Colombia, where the transgender community can meet and share their lifestyle hidden from society, showing their expressions of freedom and emotions in the face of society’s perceptions and judgement.
When Nick Hurndon was six years old he and his two older brothers were set on fire by their stepfather in their San Francisco home. Now in his early forties, Nick is a retired Marine and is raising two sons that are about the same age he was when he was set ablaze. This is a film about childhood trauma and the effects that abuse had on his sense of self worth, and the ways in which one man is interrupting a cycle of violence so that his two sons can thrive
For centuries, women have picked tea on the steep slopes of Turkey’s Black Sea region. It is gruelling work, and much of what they earn has traditionally been handed to their husbands. But now a new generation are turning their backs on tea picking, and the industry’s survival is uncertain. This film follows the young women who hope change is coming and the older ones who fear for their way of life.
Utapata Mwingine (You Will Get Another One) is a documentary about the impact of stigma and silence surrounding Pregnancy and Infant Child Loss (PAIL) in Kenya. The film follows the founder of Empower Mama, Vivian Gaiko, a young Kenyan woman who lost her two-week old daughter after a sudden illness in 2014. Vivian’s organization supports grieving parents while raising awareness about the negative consequences of ignoring a parent’s grief. Her initiative includes holding public commemorations where parents can openly remember the children that they lost.
600,000 enslaved fishermen in Pakistan suddenly found themselves free. What happens next? A reported work of narrative non-fiction that follows a community of indigenous fishermen in the heart of Pakistan as they grapple with their sudden—and ultimately short-lived—freedom.
As COVID-19 wreaks a deadly path across India, front-line heroes continue to show up for work, putting themselves and their families at great risk in this unprecedented crisis. With rare access to one of New Delhi’s busiest hospitals, over the course of a year, this documentary follows the nurses and doctors doing whatever they can to save lives and the gravediggers determined to treat those who succumb to the virus with dignity.
Human rights activist Azimjan Askarov was imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 for a crime he says he did not commit. Ever since then, his wife Hadicha has campaigned tirelessly for his release. Now she sees one last chance for justice, in an appeal hearing at the country’s supreme court. But as Hadicha prepares for the verdict, coronavirus is spreading across Kyrgyzstan, stopping Hadicha’s prison visits and putting 69-year-old Azimjan at risk. This film follows an extraordinary story of love, courage – and never giving up.
Lake Atitlán is one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala, but few visitors understand the huge challenges the lake is facing. Historically prized for its clear waters, in the last 10 years growing pollution has led to toxic cyanobacteria blooms across the lake, infecting fish and posing a health risk to its users. Everyone is agreed that something needs to be done. But what? The battle to protect the lake tells the story of a divided society and asks whether these differences can be put aside in the interest of Lake Atitlan. Or whether the state of the lake simply reflects the state of Guatemalan society – broken.
Photos & Article | Armenia | One World Media Fellowship
Yazidis are the largest ethnic minority in Armenia, comprising 1.2% of Armenia’s population of roughly 2.9 million. Most live in villages in the country’s western provinces. Today, though the Yazidi community remains a conservative one, some younger Yazidi women are openly questioning widely held assumptions about gender, marriage, and the role of education in a Yazidi woman’s life.
Life in Jerusalem is lonely for queer Palestinian teenager Shukri. That is until he discovers an online world of Western pop-stars preaching self-love and acceptance. In this digital paradise, his loneliness evaporates. But this online world isn’t real. Soon Shukri realises that in order to truly find himself, he must accept the truth about the world he inhabits. In this 16mm documentary film, we follow Shukri from the hillside apartments of Amman to the sandy shores of the Dead Sea. We watch him confront the myths about the West and the East and how they have impacted his life. We discover that as the ‘Wifi Rider’, Shukri is able to create a new identity for himself, and a new generation of Arabs like him, who feel caught between an occupation, discrimination, and the universal growing pains that come with adulthood.
Bucharest, in Romania, is arguably Europe’s most dangerous capital city. It’s not the crime that’s the problem – it’s the buildings. Many of them don’t comply with basic laws and building regulations. Permits are regularly faked. And yet Bucharest is the most earthquake prone European capital. A microcosm of the problem is a type of building called ‘camine de nefamilisti’ or, ‘homes for those without families’. These were built during the Ceaucescu era to temporarily house workers brought in from the countryside and people who were still single after university. But after the fall of Communism many of these ‘matchboxes’ ended up in private hands and conditions deteriorated with whole families moved into spaces designed for a single person. Simona Rata grew up in one of these buildings – she returns to find little has changed since her childhood. The overcrowded blocks with poor sanitary conditions make tackling Covid difficult and the stability of the buildings remains a source of grave concern.
Tixinda follows 80 year old Habacuc, his son and grandson as they carry out their monthly pilgrimage to the coast of Oaxaca to continue an ancient indigenous practice of harvesting the ink of a rare sea snail. The snail will then be brought back to their village to be woven into ceremonial clothes. During the film the men document the process and the risks it currently faces due to climate change and increasing development in the region.
For almost 70 years, the Soviet Union operated on the basis of a centrally planned economy. Since the collapse of Communism in the early 1990s, Russia has experienced difficulties in making the transition to a market based economy – and so did the workers in previously state-run facilities. The film visits one of these factories, deep in the middle of the Siberian forest, to see how they are doing in their transition to capitalism. The electromechanical plant was built in the 60s to serve the Soviet military and space industries, and had to find new ways of working to survive.
Radia, a Moroccan shepherd and farmer whose childhood circumstances prevented her from accessing an education, demonstrates how girls and women are prescribed their fates at a young age. Radia reflects on the idea of agency and how invention, determination and achievement exist independently of anyone’s permission.