Brussels, 10 October 2023 - VUB Reel Borders, a research project at the Faculty of Social Sciences, financed by the European Research Council, looks at the relationship between borders and cinema. Its central objective is to create a broader awareness of women who work in EU border regions but who don’t have the required documentation. The current focus is on the precarious situation of hundreds of Moroccan women who have worked for years without documentation in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, which borders Morocco.
Increased security measures for non-European border workers in the EU after the closure of borders during the Covid-19 pandemic mean they have no access to healthcare or education, can’t return to Morocco to visit family and cannot even renew their passport status.
Irene Gutiérrez, a filmmaker from Ceuta and promotor of the project, used participatory filmmaking as a research technique to make 26 short films with 13 “cross-border” women, exploring the precarious situation they are due to their lack of legal status.
Participatory filmmaking is a series of methods in which a group or community is involved in designing and making their own films. The 26 films were brought together in the web documentary ABCeuta: the Alphabet of the Border.
“For Reel Borders, visibility begins with recognising what happens at the borders of the EU from the perspective of the people who live and work there,” says VUB professor Kevin Smets, coordinator and lead researcher of Reel Borders. “The goal of using participatory filmmaking as a research methodology is to amplify the voices of these women, who are looking for action and response.”
On 11 October at 15.00, the Reel Borders team will present three of these short films at the European Parliament, followed by a discussion on labour, gender and mobility in the EU and its external borders. It will feature Kathleen Van Brempt and Thijs Reuten of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Damian Boeselager of the Greens–European Free Alliance, Alyssa Ahrabare of the European Network of Migrant Women, Abir Al-Sahlani of Renew Europe Group, and Grace Papa of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions.
Register for the event:
Prof Kevin Smets: +32 473 34 41 05, [email protected]
Irene Gutiérrez: +34 679 98 37 95