"The truck game, the train game, the taxi game", Sajid (from Afghanistan, aged 15) lists the ‘games’ he had to complete to get into Europe. Especially the ‘pedestrian game’: walking, lots and lots of walking.
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. Shadow Game is a journey through the dark side of Europe with teenage refugees as our guides.
Journey through the dark side of Europe! Shadow Game is an experimentally filmed account of the far-reaching consequences of European asylum policy. Now fences have gone up all over Europe, seeking asylum has become almost impossible. The teenagers cross snowy landscapes and meet aggressive border police on their way. 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. The film was shot over a period of three years, partly by the main characters themselves on their phones.
Shadow Game is a transmedia project by Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel. It consists of a feature-length documentary (90 min), a series of short docs, an adventure game, a photo series in collaboration with photographer Cigdem Yuksel and an impact campaign. The project will launch in Spring 2021.