25 november 2022

The latest IRIS winner (of the year 2022) is the documentary "Belgium’s stolen children", submitted by VRT-Canvas, directed by Steven Crombez, produced by De Chinezen NV.



Winner TV Iris 2022: Belgium’s Stolen Children
Devestating cruelty of the past
Who am I, who are my father and mother and where do I come from? These are the essential questions in life. In an honest way, the makers of 'Belgium's Stolen Children' reconstruct a hidden and very painful history. Sixty years after the independence of Rwanda and Burundi, hundreds of children born to a white father and a black mother have been sent to orphanages by the Belgian government. With a new identity, these children were forcibly given up for adoption in Belgium.



The modest way of telling and the beautiful camerawork makes you feel the devastating cruelty of the past as a viewer. It was not so long ago that the children of that time were given access to their file. This series shows the injustice that has been done to her.

15 december 2021

Faith Can Move Mountains   NORWAY


Author: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen
Director: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen
Produced by: Ingvil Giske
Broadcast by: NRK1

A group of Greek Orthodox nuns settle down in a remote and beautiful village in Western Norway. They are planning to build a magnificent monastery on a steep and dangerous mountain overseeing the fjord. Penniless, but with a strong faith, they must adapt in the new surroundings and convince the locals to support the incredible project. The Mayor believes this is to be a unique opportunity to attract tourists, but others are more skeptical. A monastery intended to house a hundred nuns is not an everyday happenstance for the small community. The locals are divided; the sceptics believe the idea is just ridiculous, while their supporters cheer them on, contributing food and voluntary labour.

Jury laudatio:
A fascinating tale about the assumptions that we make about people who are different and how relationships can become confused because of these assumptions.
This is the story of a group of Greek Orthodox nuns, their efforts to establish a monastery on top of a mountain above a tiny Norwegian village, and the local population who are strongly divided about the project. The film not only shows the strong determination of the main character, the Abbess Thavoria, but also of the film maker who worked on the project for over five years.  The result: a beautiful documentary and well-crafted piece of work. The story is told in scenes without any voice overs and with a superbly edited soundtrack.

5 november 2020

Josefin & Florin   SWEDEN


Author: Ellen Fiske & Joanna Karlberg
Director: Ellen Fiske & Joanna Karlberg
Produced by: Anna Weitz
Broadcast by: SVT2

After meeting outside the local grocery store, 22-year-old Romanian street beggar Florin and 38-year-old Swedish single mother Josefin get married. Despite the many cultural differences dividing them, they share a deep longing for love and a better life. Moving into a house in a Swedish village, they create a norm-beating life complete with chickens, pigs and a scrapyard. Florin’s friends and family often visit from back home, begging in the town center, and Josefin and Florin’s home is soon referred to by the locals as Little Romania. Florin studies Swedish and looks for work, but as the pressure from his family to send home money mounts, the relationship and their hopes for the future are put to the test. Filmmakers Ellen Fiske and Joanna Karlberg follow Josefin and Florin over the course of 2.5 years, capturing the emotional ups and downs of their love affair. The resulting 75 minutes offer an intimate portrayal of the beautiful – and challenging – power of love.

Jury laudatio:
When the extremes meet. An outstanding documentary, filmed over an exceptional period of 2,5 years, about two people falling in love with each other, despite their totally different backgrounds. The film comes  so incredibly close to the main characters, following the ups and downs in their amorous existence, that it often feels like watching fiction. It’s a story about poverty, about love, but above all about the power of diversity in optima forma. It changes the viewer’s unconscious bias and perspective about homeless people and it shows  how people can be different yet similar in an elegant and subtle way.

21 januari 2020

BUT WHEN MOMMY IS COMING? (Ma quando arriva la mamma?)  SWITZERLAND)


Author: Stefano Ferrari
Director: Stefano Ferrari
Produced by: Michael Beltrami
Broadcast by: RSI LA 1

Ahmed is a child in a wheelchair because he was born with spina bifida. Born in Syria in the city of Afrin, four years ago his father put him on his back to escape the war with the whole family. After a stop in Iraq, the family had to split apart. The mother stayed in Iraq with two sons while the father embarked on an infinite journey with Ahmed and his brother Falamaz, which ended first in Switzerland, in Giubiasco.
However their fingerprints were taken in Germany and , in accordance with the Dublin Agreement, after almost 2 years of happy stay in Giubiasco, Ahmed and Falamaz are expelled and sent to Germany with their father. A group of mothers from Ticino has not forgotten them and begins a struggle to answer the question that Ahmed asks every day: 'But when will mommy arrive?'

Jury laudatio:
The TV IRIS Jury viewed and judged a rich mosaic of films, both fiction and non-fiction, from all over Europe.
Many current and urgent diversity topics were represented: the history of migration, racial separation in education, the sad fates of refugees or the discrimination against Roma and Travelers.
Not an easy job for the TV IRIS jury to decide who should be the winner. But finally, one entry clearly stands out, because it excels in many ways: because of its close-to-the-skin camerawork. Because of its amazing editing, telling almost everything in real-life-scenes, caught in a process of four years. But above all because of the dramatic story of a father, refugee from Syria, who had to leave his wife back home and now fights for a better future of his handicapped son.

24 oktober 2018


Author: Gaelle Bellan
Director: Virginie Sauveur
Produced by: Caroline Adrian
Broadcast by: ARTE France

Sira, a former refugee, works as a translator for OFPRA (the French Office for the protection of Stateless Persons and Migrants).
She unscrupulously fleeces her clients, selling them fictions she creates to convince the authoroties. But a series of encounters will work away at her cynicism.

Jury laudatio:

The destinies and impressive stories of people on the move, in search of a better life were again in the spotlight of TV Iris. Many films deal with the most complex issue Europe  is struggling with.
One film had it all: the jury was impressed by its complexity, both by the story and its characters.
Although fiction, the film truly reveals inhumanity and cruelty imposed upon refugees. It tells how weak and strong humans are, it tells how a turn over from cynicism to compassion is possible.
There is no black and white picture, and good and bad are often not enough to catch reality.

7 augustus 2018


Author & Director: Sanna Klinghoffer
Produced by: SVT (Sweden)
Broadcast by: SVT (Sweden)

How do you free someone that has become caught up with the Islamic State?
Marilyn is 15 years old and pregnant when she follows her boyfriend on a trip she doesn’t know will end her up in the most dangerous part of the world with no way of getting home. Marilyns parents, Anki and Pasi, love American cars and heavy metal music. They would describe themselves as living a quiet life in rural Sweden until their 15-year-old daughter calls them from the Islamic State.
In this 2-part documentary we follow a family's incredible struggle to get their daughter back home. With no help from the authorities, they start scouting the area and learning about how things work in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.


‘TV Iris jury watched 15 films. Fiction, documentary and investigative reporting. The TV Iris category is a diverse watch in every sense of the word. Yet at the heart of this year’s entries were two questions. What would you do? As an individual faced with a moral dilemma. And then what should we do – together as Europeans and citizens of our respective nations. What would you do to help those who have left their homelands in search of a safer life in Europe? What would you do if your child very publicly turned its back on your traditions and religion? What would you do if those you love the most became the victims or perpetrators of international terrorism. And then what should we do, as a society, to ensure the best life chances for of all of  our people – and especially the young as they navigate their way through our changing world. The winning film ‘Alone Against the Islamic State’ addressed all of these questions through the telling of one family’s extraordinary story’.


11 augustus 2017


Author & Director: Marcel Mettelsiefen
Produced by: ITN Productions
Broadcast by: PBS/WGBH

The documentary tells the story of the Syrian Civil War through one family’s experience and the lives of three young girls and their brother over three years.
The journey of Sara, Farah, Helen and Mohammed and their mother Hala, from war-torn Aleppo to the sleepy German town of Goslar, is captured with intimacy and honesty and offers a true insight into the psychological and physical hardship of leaving your home for good. The whole tragic story of the Syrian Civil war from the uprising against the Assad regime, the emergence of Islamic State and the ensuing refugee crisis is captured through this portrayal of four young children and their parents – it is a deeply personal account of life turned upside down by the Syrian conflict.

In the past days the jury viewed and judged 16 important and excellent films dealing with cultural diversity.
Many candidates for an award - and the TV Iris Jury clearly decided for a film that dealt with one of the biggest dramas the world today is struggling with: the film follows the unique story of a Syrian family that tries to survive in the ruins of Aleppo. It shows the madness of a never-ending war that has traumatised the Syrians and the rest of the world. The film focuses on the universal question: do you stay and fight or go and rescue your life and your family.

3 november 2015


Author & Director: Hadja Lahbib
Produced by: Les passeurs de Lumiere
Broadcast by: RTBF Belgium



In the 1960s, thousands of North Africans came to work in Belgium. Among them were women who had left everything behind to follow their men to an unknown country. “Patience, patience—you’ll get to heaven,” is what these women are repeatedly told to encourage them to put up with their lives without complaining. Fifty years on, some of them are savoring emancipation. They turn out to be incredibly fun, loving, and capable of uninhibited self-mockery. This film follows them as they make new discoveries, through the simplicity of their excursions, their warm femininity, and sense of humor.


This heart warming tale of female friendship and empowerment is told through the eyes of a group of women emerging from a life-time spent in the shadow of their husbands. Mina and her friends left Morocco as girls and lived as housewives in Belgium. For decades their world shrinks to the confinement of family and home. The film charts their journey to emancipation. We see them regain their youthful enthusiasm and fulfil their dreams. At a time when the media portrays Muslim women as silent and oppressed, this film shows  strength, comradeship and independent spirit through intimate portraits and humour.

3 november 2014



Author & Director: Keren Shayo
Produced by: Trabelsi Productions
Coproduced by: First Hand Films




Live calls from the torture camps in Sinai: since Europe closed its borders in 2006, thousands of Eritrean refugees flee their military dictator-ruled country north to Israel, their gate to the west, crossing the Sinai desert. There, many are kidnapped by Bedouins and taken to one of the hidden camps. The film intimately follows Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean journalist-activist living in Sweden since many years, running a popular online radio program, publishing the stories of these camps while recording their inmates' pleas for help. We are with Meron when she searches for Timinit, a girl of 20 years who arrived at the Israeli border but from there is never seen again. And we follow the story of a man who desperately tries to free his wife, who gives birth to their child in captivity. When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, it became a military dictatorship. Military service is obligatory for everyone; women are exempted only when pregnant. Any critic or opponent of the regime faces immediate arrest. Around 3,000 Eritreans flee their country every month, despite a "shoot-to-kill" policy on the borders. In the last decade, more than 300,000 Eritreans have fled their homeland, also to Europe. Sound of Torture gives a face to those nobody cares about, touching political, cultural, and geographical matters.


The winner in this category was for the majority of the jury an absolut eyeopener. This film is an amazing piece of work about a totally ignored problem in the world of today. It is most daring visually by its often revealing camerawork and maybe even morse intense by using the sound of peoples voices. Extremely powerful and breathtaking scenes totally grasp the viewer.
A heroic portrait of a remarkable and brave young woman who on her own struggles for the fate of a group of people who are captured in horror while seeking safety in another  country. The protagonist shows that the courage and engagement of one person alone can change the world.

15 september 2014


Author & Director: Åsa Blanck, Petter Brundell
Directed by: Åsa Blanck, Johan Palmgren
Produced by: Strix, Sveriges Television - SVT
Coproduced by: The Swedish Film Institute, NRK, YLE

Displaced Perssons verkleind

Per Persson left Sweden 40 years ago in search of adventure. He drove eastward in his Land Rover and ended up in Pakistan where he fell in love with Shamim. They married, settled down in Lahore and had two daughters, Zahra and Maria. Per raised his daughters to be free and strong women which wasn’t very popular with neighbours and relatives. As Zahra and Maria grew older the family felt more and more threatened by the surrounding society. At last, when the girls are in their mid-twenties, the family makes the difficult decision to move to southern Sweden, back to Per’s roots. Shamim, Zahra and Maria have great hopes for their lives in the new country but once in Sweden nothing turns out as expected.


The story of the immigrant returning to his homeland is often covered in Prix Europa Iris, but the winning film this year turned the traditional convention on its head. Focusing on the challenges facing a Swedish man returning to Sweden after spending 30 years in Pakistan, along with his wife and two adult daughters, it gave a unique insight into the challenges facing those trying to achieve even a basic level of integration into a western society. This intimate film, shot over many years, beautifully captured the universal themes of family, love, loss and rediscovery .... but most of all, love."