Shadow Game

Every day teenagers who have fled their war-torn countries try to cross Europe’s borders in search of protection and a better life. They travel through a shadow world of minefields, bears, fast-flowing rivers, smugglers and border guards, desperately trying to win what they call ‘The Game’.

Now that fences have gone up all over Europe, seeking asylum has become almost impossible. Reaching their final destination has become more difficult than ever. Risking their lives, the teenagers undertake a treacherous journey that often takes months or even years. Along the way, they grow up fast. Their journey takes them through the whole of Europe: from Greece to North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Italy to France and the Netherlands.

‘Shadow Game’ is a mosaic story in which the experiences of many young refugees on the road are forged together into one universal tale: a modern Odyssey. Will they overcome the numerous obstacles they face? And will they find a new home?


  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 90 & 52 mins
  • Production: WitFilm
  • Director: Eefje Blankevoort & Els van Driel
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: The Netherlands



  • Youth Jury Award at Festival Dei Popoli 2022 (Italy), Best Film Editing Award at Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston GCFF 2022 (USA), Best Documentary Prize , Smart Award & Special mention from the FIDH International Federation for Human Rights @ Festival des Libertés 2021 (Belgium), PRIX EUROPA Best European TV Documentary of the Year 2021 (Germany), Goulden Kalf Prize for Best Long Documentary at Nederlands Film Festival 2021 (Netherlands), Grand Prize of Geneva & Youth Jury Prize at FIFDH Geneva 2021 (Switzerland), Dutch Movies Matter Award at Movies That Matter Festival 2021 (Netherlands), Honorable Mention in the International Documentary Competition at Solidarity Tel Aviv Human Rights Film Festival 2021 (Israel), Youth Jury Award at Luxembourg City Film Festival 2022 (Luxembourg), DOK.Fest Munich 2021 (Germany), Timisoara Refugee Arts Film Festival 2021 (Romania), AKS International Minorities Film Festival 2021 (Denmark), Human Rights Film Festival Berlin 2021 (Germany), Silbersalz Film Festival 2021 (Germany), LUCAS International Festival for Young Film Lovers 2021 (Germany), Migrant Film Festival 2021 (Slovenia), UNHCR Refugee Film Festival WILL2LIVE 2021 (Japan), Terra Di Tutti Film festival 2021(Italy), Media Festival Skopje 2021 (North Macedonia), MOSTRA-ME Human Rights Film Festival 2021 (Portugal), One World Slovakia 2021 (Slovakia), Festival Cinéma & Droits Humains 2021 (France), Move It! Dresden Human Rights Film Festival 2021 (Germany), Human Rights Film Festival Zurich 2021 (Switzerland), Global Health Film Festival 2021 (UK & Ireland), This Human World 2021 (Austria), WatchDocs Human Rights in Film IFF 2021 (Poland), Unlimited Hope Human Rights Film Festival Awards 2021 (Germany), FIPADOC 2022 (France), JEF Film Festival 2022 (Belgium), Human International Documentary Film Festival 2022 (Norway), Politfilm Festival 2022 (Austria), Crossroads Festival 2022 (Austria)., Festival Les Murs Ne Servent à Rien 2022 ( France), Nuremberg International Human Rights FF "Ltd wkend edition" 2022 (Germany), Globale Mittelhessen Festival 2022 (Germany), HUMAN VISION Festival 2023 (Austria), Shifting Pictures Festival 2023 (Romania), Rencontres du film documentaire de Mellionnec 2023 ( France), Festival Cinéma et Migrations 2023 (France), Trevignano DOCStories 2023 (Italy), Arcadia Film Festival 2024-2025 (France)

Related Programs

The Mind Game

When he was just 15, Sajid Khan Nasiri fled Afghanistan alone. After a two-year journey filled with danger and hardships – which he minutely documented on his phone camera – he arrives in Belgium to seek asylum. There, a whole new struggle begins.

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