Film Series

There aren’t many things to celebrate this year, but one occasion for joy and thankfulness is that GRAMNet turns 10! 10 years of providing a welcoming network for those seeking refuge, academics, artists, students, filmmakers from all over the world, a space for research, learning and exploring the creativity within.

The GRAMNet Film Series was instigated by Dr Mariangela Palladino, then of the University of Glasgow and former of BEMIS. She volunteered a film screening of the film about Ethiopian, Eritrean and Sudanese Asylum Seekers in torturous detention in Libya after refoulement from Italy. Come un uomo sulla terra – Like a Man on Earth. If anything, the situation for migrants returned from Europe or prevented from reaching Europe has worsened and the Libyan detention prisons are an international scandal.

The partnership has continued over the years, adding in new supporters and sponsors but as a faithful collaboration between BEMIS and GRAMNet. Often our after-film panel discussions will last longer than the film, spilling over into the foyer and restaurant at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, where GRAMNet has hosted many events. The spread of people attending has been touching for the organisers not least because of their belief in the need for different linguistic communities in Glasgow to have free access to films in their monther languages. Programming and curating have not been easy on a shoestring budget but our audiences have been steady and rising and being able to team up with DOCUMENT and other festivals has been mutually reinforcing to the focus our the GRAMNet series and the breadth of documentary film making. We are indebted to our paid interns over the years who have put the series together. This year Dr Alexandra Colta continues with grace and giftedness.

The Film Series is one of the many initiatives of this network, which every year has expanded our knowledge of the world, of different cultures, languages, struggles and voices through film and conversation. This year, the GRAMNet/BEMIS Film Series returns in a digital format at first, and an abundance of possibilities of stories to discover and ways to engage.

For months we’ve been struggling with a pandemic and being locked out of social life, as well as facing political and economic changes, heading towards an uncertain future. Movement and other basic human rights became even more restricted and the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world even more difficult. For this reason, we are hoping that the GRAMNet Film Series 2020/21 will bring some comfort, hope and a space for togetherness, albeit virtually for a while.

Rather than adapting to a ‘new normal’, in this series we will choose the abnormal, the unusual, the extraordinary. We will continue our monthly screenings inspired by global events and occasions with a touch of escapism and imagination. There will be more fiction filmmaking, animation, quirky characters and heartfelt stories, starting with the protagonist of our opening film (Wake Up on Mars), a 10-year old boy who dreams of flying to Mars to escape a harsh reality to the cultures and languages of the people living in the Arctic (Anerca, Breath of Life).

Find out about Sommai, whose matchmaking skills brought hundreds of Thai women to marry Danish men and sometimes, some of them even discovered love (Heartbound). Join Wardi, an 11-year old Palestinian girl, as she tries to uncover her family and her people’s history (The Tower).

Join us in watching these incredible films from your home screens, for the first few months at least and meet us for live conversations online. Once it is safe to go back in our second home – the Centre for Contemporary Arts – we will welcome you with open arms!

The discussion events will take place live on the date mentioned in this programme and they will be free and open to everyone. The films will be available for a limited time leading up to each of those dates. To find out how to access the live events and online screenings, go on our blog and website and don’t hesitate to get in touch.


GRAMNet is very grateful for the generous support we receive from our partners, sponsors, distributors and directors so that we can keep our film series free and open to all. Developing this work with the Equality and Diversity Unit and our long-standing partners in the film series BEMIS, as well as UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and Arts, Iona Community and Document Human Rights Film Festival.

Screenings are accompanied by forums and Q&A for everyone to share their views and thoughts in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. The audience is warmly invited to congregate in the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Café following each screening to continue our informal discussions.

Sponsored by GRAMNet, BEMIS Scotland and the Iona Community, with the support of UNESCO Chair – RILA, Document Human Rights Film Festival and the Equality and Diversity Unit at the University of Glasgow.


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