UNHCR and the European Union launch 360-degree interactive film on Venezuelan displacement in Ecuador

Virtual reality film On the Other Side features the story of Arianna, a young woman from Venezuela who fled from her country in search of safety in Ecuador.

Virtual reality film On the Other Side features the story of Arianna, a young woman from Venezuela who fled her country in search of safety in Ecuador.  © UNHCR/Imán Transmedia

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the European Union launched today an innovative 360-degree interactive film that tells the story of a young woman from Venezuela who fled from her country in search of safety in Ecuador.

On the Other Side is a virtual reality film that aims to create empathy among the European and global public about the situation of Venezuelans who have left their country due to insecurity, persecution and widespread shortages of basic goods and services. With more than 6 million refugees and migrants, the exodus from Venezuela is one of the largest external displacement crises in the world. Over half a million Venezuelans have found a home in Ecuador.

"We hope that this project will help the public to better understand the courage and resilience that refugees and migrants need to show during the dangerous journeys they embark on," said José Samaniego, UNHCR Director for the Americas. "This film highlights the need to continue providing emergency assistance to Venezuelans on the move, while also investing in solutions to ensure they can contribute to their host communities."

Some of the countless risks that refugees and migrants face are portrayed in the film through the story of the protagonist, Arianna. She had to leave Venezuela and, after crossing Colombia on foot, she is now trying to join her older sister in Ecuador, where she hopes to resume her studies and achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. Hundreds of Venezuelans like Arianna endure hardship every day during their journey, braving the cold weather and exposed to dangers such as exploitation and abuse.

“After several years of a crisis that continues to force Venezuelans to flee their country, it is necessary to remember that humanitarian needs persist and are even worsening,” says Álvaro De Vicente, Head of DG ECHO´s regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. “I hope that this project will help us not to forget the critical situation suffered by all Venezuelans on the move. The time that has passed since the beginning of the crisis has not helped to find a solution, rather the opposite, and this must be shown.”

Throughout the film, viewers will help Arianna make three key decisions that will shape her future. This interactive film is fictional but based on true stories. Written jointly with dozens of refugees and migrants in Ecuador, On the other side will allow the audience to walk a mile in their shoes and face the difficult choices they have to make on a daily basis.

Note to editors

Virtual launch event

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in partnership with the European Union, is pleased to invite you to the virtual launch of the 360° interactive film “On the Other Side”, about the Venezuelan displacement, and to the High-level Panel on Venezuelan Displacement on 24 March 2022 (1600 CET; 1000 EST).

Speakers at the event include Mr. Gonzalo Vargas Llosa (UNHCR Representative EU Affairs), Ms. Andrea Koulaimah (Director of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and Pacific, DG ECHO), Mr. Jose Samaniego (Director, UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas), Ms. Rosa Ortiz (Actress and Venezuelan displaced in Ecuador) and H.E. Charles-Michel Geurts (EU Ambassador in Ecuador).

To register: click here

Watch the trailer here  Under embargo until 0800 CET on Thursday 24 March 2022

Watch the film here Under embargo until 0800 CET on Thursday 24 March 2022

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. 

UNHCR, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), co-leads the Regional Inter-agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). With about 200 partners across Latin America and the Caribbean, the R4V Platform seeks to strengthen protection of the rights, improve access to services, and expand integration opportunities for refugees, migrants and host communities.

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.