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The cinema's great master of deadpan comedy, Aki Kaurismäki, returns with the story of an unlikely friendship between a Syrian asylum seeker and an elderly Finnish restaurant owner. Winner of the Berlin Silver Bear for Best Director, it is a beautiful, timely film from one of the world's leading filmmakers.

Khaled arrives at the port of Helsinki concealed in a coal container, fleeing war-torn Syria to seek asylum in Finland. Dazed and frustrated by the monolithic administration he encounters at the detention centre, he makes a break for it and heads out onto the streets. There he forges an unlikely friendship with Wikström who is also on the run – from a miserable marriage. Together, they help each other to navigate the problems they face in unfamiliar and often baffling new worlds. "Look happy," an Iraqi refugee tells Khaled, because "the melancholy ones are always deported first..."

With hilarious sight gags, poker-faced one liners and a toe-tapping rockabilly soundtrack, THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE balances unparalleled wit with a pressing critique of the unforgiving bureaucracy that greets vulnerable asylum seekers in modern-day Europe. Humane and sincere, it's proof of cinema's power to tell stories that matter, with beauty and heart.



UK 2017. Dir: Elmaz Ekrem & Dominika Ożyńska. 4 mins.

THE LAW OF THE SEA is a powerful and insightful animated short film which offers a personal perspective on a story which goes far deeper than any newspaper headline. Fisherman on the Greek island of Lesvos, Greece worked.  tirelessly to help the steady stream of refugees fleeing Syria arriving on their shores. Their stories, ranging from the mundane to the shocking, give a very human account of a great tragedy of our time.

This film is from the First Acts strand of Random Acts Presents, a joint initiative between Arts Council England, Channel 4 Random Acts and five national network centres (ICA, Calling the Shots, Rural Media, Screen South and the Tyneside Cinema). Over the last two and a half years each network centre has been working with 24 artists and filmmakers per year to commission and facilitate the making of short films. By the end of the project in 2018 over 300 films will have been made. For more information: