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2nd Migrant Worker Film Festival Opens in Seoul Updated: 2007-09-02 00:00:00 KST

Living away from home is never easy.
For migrant workers the hardships of being away from friends and family are compounded by what is usually a life of grueling labor and struggles.
But the Migrant Worker Film Festival, now in its second year, helps tell their stories.
The festival taking place at the Seoul Arts Cinema in Insadong is hosted by Migrant Worker TV and migrant communities in Korea.
Organizer Mahbub Alam from Bangladesh says the festival plays an important role in Korea as migrant worker numbers here grow.

"The migrant worker problem is not only in Korea, it's all over the world. And also there are different problems in different places. So we are trying to focus on it and think about that. And migrant workers nowadays are not like foreigners, they are like neighbors and became family in Korea nowadays."

This year's focus is on women and children migrants.
Over the weekend, 38 movies are showing some made by migrant workers themselves.
The festival started with the opening movie, "A Day Without a Mexican" a comedy portraying the view of Americans toward Latin Americans in the US.

"The Migrant Workers Film Festival is a chance for migrants to tell their story, and is also a great opportunity for locals to experience diverse cultures through the screen."

Viewers say it's a rare chance to see other cultures.

"It was interesting for me to learn about the Bangladesh and Muslim cultures. Also, I teach Korean to foreigners so this gave me an insight to see from their point of view."

The message is serious: Respect migrants as equals and create better conditions for them.
But that doesn't mean the festival is too serious to have fun.
Movies are free of charge and music and art shows add to the enjoyment.

"It's not a heavy atmosphere here so I think there should be more events like this to better the understanding of others."
Kim Youngwon, Arirang News.
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