Over a thousand migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, trying to make it to Europe. When Frontex reduced EU coastguard missions, the charities were forced to step in. But this year, NGO rescue ships find themselves unable to operate, accused of running a ‘taxi service’ for smugglers.

In this powerful and moving film, we follow the NGO rescue ship ‘Iuventa’, bought and operated by the Jugend Rettet network of young Europeans who challenge the idea of ‘Fortress Europe’. In 2016 and 2017, it carried out 15 missions, rescuing more than 14,000 people, before it was seized by the Italian government for allegedly helping traffickers— an accusation Jugend Rettet completely denies.

From the Iuventa’s first voyage in 2016 to the seizure of the ship more than a year later and the fate of those rescued, we follow events as they happen. It’s a complex story, capturing both the drama of the rescues and the political awakening of the young protagonists, who find themselves at the forefront of this horror and death, overwhelmed by the vastness and complexities of the problem. Compelling, urgent viewing.


  • Year: 2018
  • Duration: 86 & 57 mins
  • Production: Lazy Film
  • Director: Michele Cinque
  • Available Versions: ENG, ESP, ITA
  • Country of production: Italy



  • Guerilla Staff Award & 2 special mentions (Biografilm Festival 2018, Italy), Salina Doc Fest 2018 (Italy), International Human Rights Film Festival in Albania 2018 (Albania), Diritti a Orvieto - Human Rights International film festival 2018 (Italy), London Migration Festival (UK), This Human World (Austria), DocFeed (Netherlands), Festival of Tolerance JFF 2019 (Zagreb, Croatia), Festival del Cinema Italiano di Lisboa 2019 (Portugal) , Fast Forward Festival 2019 ( Derbyshire, UK), International Human Rights Film festival Buenos Aires 2019 (Argentina), Festival organized by Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung Office + Greek Film Archive in 2019 (Greece) , Snapshots from The Borders Moving Festival 2019 (Austria, Poland, Denmark & Finland)

Related Programs

Europe: The Rise of the Extreme Right

Cutting freedoms and attacking the rule of law, Europe's extreme right has made significant gains in the new parliament. How does it grow?

More info


Torn apart by war and politics: from Germany Raf’aa prays to be reunited with her young family, who are trapped in one of Europe’s worst refugee camps

More info

Suspicious Package

What lies behind Europe's Fortress? 'Suspicious Package' examines the migratory security business to understand who benefits politically and economically from the EU's border security system.

More info