Lampedusa film kicks off Berlin Film Festival refugee focus

A documentary about the refugee crisis that has engulfed the small Italian island of Lampedusa kicks off Saturday the Berlin Film Festival's focus on the plight of migrants around the world.

The film, Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) from Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, tells the story of the refugees holed up on the island through the daily life of a 12-year-old boy called Samuele.

Lying between Tunisia and Sicily, Lampedusa is often the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East en route to Europe, often after enduring perilous journeys in decrepit boats in their bid for a new life.

Rosi's documentary is one of 18 movies in the race for top honours at Berlinale, including the Golden Bear for best picture.

Fuocoammare also forms part of a series of films being screened at this year's Berlinale about the refugee crisis that has sparked political tensions in Europe and resulted in political leaders stepping up their efforts to try to contain the influx of new migrants.

A seven-member jury headed by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep will hand out the festival's prestigious prizes at a gala ceremony on Saturday, February 20.

Last update: Sat, 13/02/2016 - 13:02

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