As our world seems to be falling apart, NEW NEIGHBOURS urges us to move “One Step Closer”

As our world seems to be falling apart, NEW NEIGHBOURS urges us to move “One Step Closer”

One Step Closer”, the third episode of the New Neighbours film series to be released online, holds a small surprise and teaches us that happiness can take a long and winding road, even if you’ve never left your home country. Co-produced by the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group and RTV Slovenia, the documentary follows a Kurdish family of six in their encounters with the new Slovenian neighbours.

According to the film director Jernej Kastelec: “We get the impression that the locals and the newcomers don’t have much reservations or prejudice, but also that neither of them needs closer contacts. To leave the safety of their inner social circle and make an effort to make new acquaintances – this was a challenge for the neighbours from both sides of the fence, and for us of course!

The Hasan Khalils had a good life in Syria. Romat was a childcare worker and her husband Ismail was a tailor. When the war broke out, they had to flee with their two children to save their lives. They left everything behind: their family, house, friends…  They have been on a journey without a known destination for eight years – Iraq, Turkey, Greece. During that time, two other sons were born. They have lived in Slovenia for the past three years and built their new lives there. 

Their Slovenian neighbour, Zinka, explains that many people from the city have moved to the village in recent years. She tells us that they have no problems with the new Syrian neighbours. She confirms that they don’t know each other and have only fleeting encounters. This can stay unchanged for an unknown period of time, since Slovenes mostly don’t establish more profound ties with neighbours. But Zinka has a story of her own to tell…

You can watch “One Step Closer” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via 

From Damascus to Berlin, NEW NEIGHBOURS documents an extraordinary friendship

Across the road worlds apart New Neighbours Documentary

The New Neighbours journey takes us from the ghost town of Sutera, Sicily, to the metropolis of Berlin and its new Syrian residents. “Across the Road – Worlds Apart” by EBU-DW pays tribute to the unforgettable life of Eva Sternheim-Peters and documents her friendship with Syrian refugee Amer Kassab. 

At the age of ten Mrs Sternheim-Peters joined the league of German Girls, the girl’s wing of the Nazi party’s youth movement. She afterwards recognised the horror of the movement and spent her life welcoming people from all around the world in her apartment. Her last “roommate” was Syrian refugee Amer Kassab. The film follows Amer as he visits a German pub frequented by local regulars opposing Muslim newcomers. Will the encounter with Amer shift their views?

Dasa Raimanova, film director, recounts a memorable moment of the shooting:

During a severe heat wave in Berlin, together with our protagonists, Eva (94) and Amer (27), we visited the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. It was a harrowing experience, difficult to describe in words. While we were mostly worried about Eva managing in the heat, quite the opposite happened: Amer and the crew were melting while Eva kept going without complaining even once about the heat.

“Across the Road – Worlds Apart” had its premiere at the Centre for Fine Arts Bozar in Brussels on the occasion of the World TV day in November 2019. It is one of nine documentary films exploring real stories of daily life in an intercultural European Union, co-produced by the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group within the project New Neighbours. 

Eva Sternheim-Peters died in 2020 as one of the victims of the corona virus pandemic in Germany. The co-production team of the New Neighbours series is proud and grateful to have  managed to capture part of Eva’s life on camera.

You can watch “Across the Road – Worlds Apart” subtitled in English here. All nine films are being made available one after another via 

The NEW NEIGHBOURS film journey starts in Sutera

in the ghost town new neighbours documentary sutera italy migrants

The first of nine documentary films exploring real stories of daily life in an intercultural European Union launches today on the New Neighbours website. Co-produced by RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana and the EBU Intercultural and Diversity Group, “In the Ghost Town” follows John and his family who arrive to Sicily from Nigeria and meet their local neighbour Franco. Their fragile relationship reveals how meeting one other is always the first step in breaking prejudices.

Situated at the foot of a mountain, Sutera in Sicily has no more than 1000 inhabitants, mostly elderly. Life in Sutera is tough: there are no jobs. And like many Sicilian towns, Sutera is a doorway and a gate to Europe for people who come from Africa. In 2013, after one of the deadliest migrant tragedies, Sutera’s municipality was asked to bury almost 400 victims. But Sutera’s cemetery was full, so the Major of the village decided to do something crucial for the living. Sutera became a new home of the survivors.

New Neighbours is the most recent piece in a puzzle of European projects and efforts carried out by leading international and national media and civil society organisations to promote responsible journalism and respectful dialogue amongst all members of society. Led by the European Broadcasting Union, the 24-month project runs until the end of 2020 and has produced the third edition of the documentary film series New Neighbours, involving 9 European Public Service Broadcasters from Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. The films explore real stories of new encounters between ‘locals’ and ‘newly arrived’ citizens, showing the complexities and richness of intercultural integration processes. In the development of the series, the broadcasters cooperated with local civil society and community media organisations in order to explore creative angles and ideas.

According to RAI’s chief editor and scriptwriter Daniela Attilini,

«New Neighbours is an incredible experience. Not only for the meaning of the documentary but also because co-productions are the future. I think that we must work together. To be European means to be a team, with all the differences and richness that it entails.»

You can watch “In the Ghost Town” subtitled in English here. All nine films will be made available one after another via

“In the Ghost Town” premiered on RAI3 on December 25, 2019, followed by three other episodes of the New Neighbours series. Residents of Italy can access episodes with Italian subtitles via RaiPlay at this link.

In a climate of increasing populism and disinformation, New Neighbours is collecting good practice and success stories on how to provide factual information on migration, as well as promoting direct participation of migrants and refugees in media production.

Alongside the PSM film productions, which build the heart of the New Neighbours project, a series of complementary productions, trainings and research activities are taking place, under the responsibility of the project partners CMFE – Community Media Forum Europe, COMMIT, COSPE Onlus and MDI – Media Diversity Institute.

New Neighbours is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and by the U.S. Agency for Global Media.