THE HAGUE – Portrait of a Stranger, a creative multimedia collaboration between world-renowned photographer and storyteller Platon, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, will debut today in partnership with the Movies That Matter International Human Rights Film Festival in The Hague, Netherlands.
The 18-minute film features interviews and portraits of over 20 refugees who fled conflict and persecution in various parts of the world, exploring the universal desire to be free, safe, respected and valued, and to belong.
Over the last year, UNHCR and Platon interviewed a diverse group of refugees ranging in age, nationality, ethnicity and personal circumstances. The result, Portrait of a Stranger, is a holistic, multimedia experience, marrying film and photography. It asks audiences to look beyond our differences and instead focus on our shared humanity.
“Living in exile may be their life circumstance, but it is not what defines them,” said Platon. “I hope the images and voices of the refugees in this film will help audiences focus on the shared humanity that unites us, rather than the barriers that divide us. Not only for these particular refugees but for all people forced to flee around the world.”
As the number of people forcibly displaced continues to rise – last year there were more than 100 million people uprooted globally – it is hoped that the collaboration will help to reframe the narratives and perceptions around people forced to flee.
“This film and these images are powerful reminders of who refugees really are. They are people like your neighbour, your friend, your colleague. Like you and me, each with our own personality; our hopes; our dreams,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said. “By amplifying the voices of refugees, the film offers an important reality check to counter the negative public discourse we often hear about people forced to flee.”