Shadow Game


Everyday 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 we never see: a world of minefields, bears, fast-flowing rivers, smugglers and border guards. ‘The game’ is the bitterly ironic term for crossing borders that has become commonplace among these young refugees. Risking their lives, the teenagers undertake a treacherous journey that often takes months or even years. Along the way, they grow up fast.

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. 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. Filmed over a period of three years, partly by the main characters themselves, Will they overcome the numerous obstacles they face? And will they find a new home?


90min | Netherlands | 2021


Directors: Eefje Blankevoort, Els van Driel

Els van Driel (Alkmaar, 23.12.1976) is an independent crossmedia journalist and director. She studied art history and social-cultural theology at the University of Amsterdam. She worked for almost 13 years for the Dutch Ecumenical Broadcasting company IKON television where she learned the skills and crafts of television- and documentary making. At IKON she initiated the award winning youth documentary series ‘Just Kids’ (aka 'Mensjesrechten'); a series about children’s rights, which is broadcast in several countries around Europe on television and is shown at film festivals around the globe.

Eefje Blankevoort (10.111978) studied History at the University of Amsterdam. Between 2002 and 2006 she regularly spent time in Iran where she studied, compiled an archive for the International Institute of Social History and worked on her book Stiekem kan hier alles (You can do anything here in secret). Since then, Eefje has developed into an all-rounder in journalism, writing articles and books, as well as creating interactive projects, exhibitions and documentary films. She is co-founder and director of documentary production agency Prospektor.

Producers: Iris Lammertsma | Editing: Patrick Schonewille | D.O.P: Ton Peters nsc | Sound: Els van Driel, Eefje Blankevoort | Language: Arabic, English, Kurdish | subtitles: Arabic, English