Selected projects for the 2023 Impact Days

From the 110 international documentary projects submitted, our selected 16 represent directors from 14 different countries.

The topics of these compelling documentary projects range from violence against women in Turkey to human trafficking in Bangladesh, from asylum procedures in Switzerland to Indigenous rights in Jodan, from child soldiers in Yemen to reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic

Different stories. Different parts of the world. Different voices. But one common goal unites each of the filmmakers behind these powerful stories: to improve the lives of the participants and the communities they represent by effectively addressing the root causes of their struggles.

We believe these films have the power to motivate change and would like to thank our selection committee for their help in identifying them.

The teams from the selected films will develop their impact campaigns through our Impact Lab and will be connected with strategic impact partners during the Impact Days in Geneva - from 12 to 14 March 2023.

Selected projects for the Impact Days 2023

Concrete Land

Directed by Asmahan Bkerat (Jordan)                   

Produced by Ban Maraqa (Kayan Productions, Jordan)

Impact Producer Abeer Bayazidi (Jordan)

Synopsis An intimate portrait of Bedouin family of three generations, in its struggle to hold on to its traditional life under the pressures of urbanization. Their only wish is to stay together, with their loyal yet eccentric pet sheep, Badrya

Impact statement We seek a revision of laws regarding the rights and access to legal aid of displaced Palestinian nomadic Bedouins in Jordan, to generate acceptance and appreciation of their lifestyle in modern urban society, and to educate the local community about the challenges urbanization presents - not only to people but also regarding loss of land and climate change.


Ghost Boat

Directed by Kauser Haider (Bangladesh) and Tanim Yousuf (Bangladesh)

Produced by Patrick Hamm (Bulldog Agenda, USA) and Arif Yousuf (Bangladesh)

Synopsis Amena is searching for her son who was illegally trafficked by boat from Bangladesh to Malaysia. She teams up with a trafficking survivor to retrace her son's steps and shine a light on the plight of parents who lose their kids to trafficking.

Impact statement Ghost Boat puts a human face on the global issue of human trafficking. It aims to warn young villagers of the Bandarban region of the traffickers’ false promises and to put national and international pressure on Government authorities to support affected communities.


Hidden Letters

Directed by Violet Du Feng (China)

Produced by Violet Du Feng (Fish and Bear Pictures, USA), Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas (Ten Thousand Images, Norway), Jean Tsien (USA), and Su Kim (USA)

Impact Producer Erin Sorenson (USA)

Synopsis Two Chinese millennial women must save an ancient secret treasure from falling into the wrong hands, but don’t expect it will save them too.

Impact statement Our campaign will create virtual internationally accessible spaces for women to weave a landscape, with art, that allows expressions of vulnerability, resilience, and complexity of experience. Through this, women will claim agency over their own stories to fight societal suppression.


Land of Women

Directed by Ayman El Amir (Egypt) and Nada Riyadh (Egypt)

Produced by Ayman El Amir (Felucca Films, Egypt), Marc Irhmer (Dolce Vita Films, France), and Mette-Ann Schepelern (Magma Film, Denmark)

Synopsis In a conservative village in the south of Egypt, dominated by patriarchy and full of despair, a lively group of Coptic girls refuse the traditional roles forced upon them by forming an all-female street theatre troupe.

Impact statement The film aims to raise awareness about the rights of women and girls in conservative and patriarchal communities, and to empower the heroines of the film by helping them build their own theatre space in their remote village.


Let's play soldiers

Directed by Mariam Al-Dhubhani (Yemen)

Produced by Mohammed Al-Jaberi (Meem Square Film LLC, Yemen)

Synopsis A 16 years old child soldier, Nasser, returns home to seek his place in the community in a small village South of Yemen, where he realizes that he must protect his two younger brothers from following the same path of becoming soldiers.

Impact statement We wish to create safe spaces for children to stay in school through sports. We aim to empower youth through informal training in the use of cameras and storytelling as tools, to allow them to provide for themselves and their families.


Life is beautiful

Directed by Mohamed Jabaly (Palestine)

Produced by Kristine Ann Skaret (Stray Dog Productions, Norway)

Impact producer Sarah Winge-Sørensen (Stray Dog Productions, Norway)

Synopsis Stunned to be displaced, Mohamed is forced to confront what it means to be a stateless person - a label he resists. "Life is Beautiful" is an insider’s take on how to persevere and ultimately succeed in the struggle for self-determination.

Impact statement Mohamed’s story shows how to stand up for yourself and succeed in fighting for your rights and identity – and how to do it with joy, humour, warmth, love and friendship. We hope his story inspires stateless and displaced people insimilar situations, and activates those who are in a position to help.


My name is Happy

Directed by Nick Read (UK) and Ayse Toprak (Turkey)

Produced by Nick Read (Red Zed Films, UK) and Adam Bullmore (October Films, UK)

Synopsis Aspiring popstar Mutlu Kaya narrowly escapes an attempted femicide with her life. Despite life-changing injuries, Mutlu goes in search of justice and to reclaim her voice as a singer.

Impact statement We want to encourage a social, political and judicial sea change in attitudes towards women with Mutlu’s story, and a greater understanding of the legacy of extreme violence in cases like hers.


New Boats

Directed by Lansana Mansaray (Sierra Leone) 

Produced by Tiny Mungwe (STEPS, South Africa)

Impact Producer Adenike Hamilton (Sierra Leone)

Synopsis Illegal fishing by countries from the Far East forces fishermen in Sierra Leone to migrate but some of them are putting up a fierce resistance.

Impact statement To inspire affected communities to take ownership and engage in a national discussion on the issues of illegal fishing and sand-mining, marine and mangrove protection, climate change and food security.


Scarlet girls

Directed by Paula Cury (Dominican Republic)

Produced by Paula Cury (Cristal Cine, Dominican Republic), Samuel Didonato (Cristal Cine, Dominican Republic), and Natalia Imaz (Co-producer, Parabellum Film, Germany)

Synopsis What does it mean to be a woman in a country where abortion is banned in all circumstances? In this lyrical documentary, women and girls speak about the challenges and consequences regarding unsafe abortion in the Dominican Republic.

Impact statement Scarlet Girls is a film about young girls and women across the Dominican Republic - too long silenced due to social stigma and criminalization – telling their stories to create a culture shift and recognize the moral obligation to make abortion safe and accessible.



Directed by Parsifal Reparato (Italy)

Produced by Parsifal Reparato (AntropicA srl, Italy) and Valérie Montmartin (Co-producer, Little Big Story, France)

Synopsis Stories of exploitation and patriarchy in the largest electronics industrial plant in the world, in Vietnam.

Impact statement We stand for workers’ and women rights. Our goal is to contribute to improving working conditions within big electronic corporations producing in Vietnam and South-East Asia.


Songs of sisterhood

Directed by Hanna Nobis (Poland)

Produced by Esther van Messel (First Hand Films, Switzerland) and Hanna Nobis (Offhand Films, Poland)

Synopsis Lu and Margot oppose the conservative, oppressive norms of today's Poland. As they fight for a better world in real life and online, they are celebrated on social media but also physically and mentally harmed.

Impact statement This film promotes the debate on the strict abortion rules and other oppressive and misogynistic laws that should be further challenged in Poland.


The Dusk of the Amazon

Directed by Alvaro Sarmiento (Peru)

Produced by Diego Sarmiento, (HDPERU, an indigenous film collective, Peru) and Leiqui Uriana (Anakaa Films, Colombia)

Impact Producer Diego Sarmiento

Synopsis Undoing the forced migration of their ancestors as slaves, three indigenous Huitoto people investigate the history of colonialism in the Peruvian Amazon. They question the exploitation of natural resources and the agony of the natives.

Impact statement To create a new understanding so inhabitants from Indigenous nations can reflect upon their past and ethnic identity, and so that the world can see how the violence of the rubber era is not over but instead has adopted new forms.


The Hearing

Directed by Lisa Gerig (Switzerland)

Produced by Eva Vitija (Ensemble Film GmbH, Switzerland) and Maurizius Stärkle Drux (Ensemble Film GmbH, Switzerland)

Synopsis Four rejected asylum seekers relive the hearing on their reasons for fleeing and shed light on the core of the asylum procedure. Will the interviewees be able to describe their traumatic life stories in a way that satisfies the officials?

Impact statement The film wants to question Switzerland’s current legislative refugee criteria and their concrete implementation by the authorities.


The Woman Who Poked The Leopard

Directed by Patience Nitumwesiga (Uganda)

Produced by Rosie Motene (South Africa), Natalia Imaz (Parabellum Film, Germany), and Patience Nitumwesiga (SHAGIKA, Uganda)

Synopsis After a life of radical activism that lands her in jail, Ugandan queer rights academic and poet Stella Nyanzi runs for parliament. Police brutality and ensuing tragedies force her to choose between her children’s safety and the revolution.

Impact statement After witnessing queer rights academic and poet Stella Nyanzi stand up to a brutal government and a homophobic constituency, as well as overcome much personal loss. People are encouraged to stand up for themselves and find joy, support and hope with the people who love them.


Untying the knot

Directed by Chona Mangalindan (Philippines)

Produced by Chona Mangalindan (Monsoon Films, Philippines) and Rosie Garthwaite (Executive Producer, Mediadante, UK)

Synopsis In the Philippines, the last country outside the Vatican where divorce is illegal, women in troubled and abusive marriages risk their lives for freedom.

Impact statement In shining a light on the long-lasting consequences of the lack of divorce, we hope to support the legalization of divorce in the Philippines.



Directed by Simon David (Switzerland)

Produced by Fanny Haussauer (Nous Prod, Switzerland)

Impact Producer Nadia Kaelin (Nous Prod, Switzerland)

Co-sceenwriter ZVET (Switzerland)

Synopsis An immersive experience in the heart of a committed community, composed of young people with strong ideologies. A realistic and tumultuous artistic project, which focuses on these anonymous people trying to understand all that they have experienced.

Impact statement With this film, we want to open minds among those who are not convinced of the necessity of this type of action, whereas on the side of those who are convinced, we want to give hope and encourage action for the defence of climate and human rights in the broadest sense.


Selection committee

Khushboo Ranka – India

Khushboo has directed and produced a series of films and documentaries, including, notably acclaimed film An Insignificant Man (2016). She is now working to put together the first independent documentary film fund in India with Doc Society as a knowledge partner.

Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen - Denmark

Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen is the Impact & Workshop Manager at Nordisk Panorama. She is responsible for the planning and execution of Nordisk Panorama’s Impact and Doc Forward Workshops, providing consultancy on project development and on how to create targeted impact strategies and outreach.

Michelle Plascencia Esparza – Mexico

Michelle is a cultural organizer with more than 6 years of experience in film festival production and impact producer based in Mexico City. She’s led the first two editions of Good Pitch Mexico 2020 and 2022, as the Outreach and Partnerships Coordinator at DocsMX, a documentary film platform in Mexico City.

Tiny Mungwe- South Africa

Tiny Mungwe is a filmmaker and arts manager. She works at STEPS, producing Generation Africa, a collection of 25 documentary films from 16 African countries. She has directed, produced and written a variety of notable documentaries and films such as Akekho uGogo, Evelyn and Daddy’s Boy.

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Contact us

Laura Longobardi
Head of Impact & Industry
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Ana Castañosa
Deputy Head of Impact Days
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Sophie Mulphin 
Impact Days, Changemaker Programme Manager
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Sandrine Koenig
Impact Days Assistant

Key dates

14 October 2022
Deadline for submission of the projects 

19 January 2023
Webinar for selected film teams and observers

20 January 2023
Webinar for selected film teams only

16 February 2023
Workshop for NGOs in Geneva

12-14 March 2023

  • Industry Programme for accredited participants including masterclasses, panel discussions and networking opportunities for filmmakers and changemakers.
  • Public pitch and one-to-one meetings between selected film teams, NGOs and philanthropists

Previous editions

> Impact Days 2022

>Impact Day 2021

> Impact Day 2020

> Impact Day 2019

> Participating Organisations