Josephine Landertinger Forero

Broadening the conversation about human rights through film

Raised in Portugal, Josephine Landertinger Forero is the daughter of a Colombian mother and Austrian father. When her father’s work as a UN diplomat brought the family to Lesotho when surrounding South Africa was still in the midst of Apartheid, Josephine's experiences as an “outsider” were exacerbated by racial and ethnic tensions. She then moved to Oporto, Portugal, a city with a minimal immigrant presence, where she and her family were still perceived as “foreigners.” After high school in Portugal, Josephine moved to Berlin, Germany, to study communications and film at the Free University.

Josephine’s attraction to film stems from her desire to use universal imagery to decrease the discrimination and exclusion that results from ignorance about others. As the online editor and film director at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation - a political foundation that promotes freedom, liberty, peace and justice through civic education programs – Josephine has written and directed several documentaries that tell stories of migration, human rights, integration and intercultural life. “I gravitated towards documentaries because they are a mix between film and journalism,” she says. “They allow me to merge my passion for media with my passion for human rights.” She was also appointed “Gender Rights Commissioner” at that organization, where she focused on women's rights and bringing more women to leadership positions.

As a bi-national child, Josephine always wanted to create a documentary about bi-national relations. Boundless (Grenzenlos) examines the lives of bi-national couples in Berlin and focuses on how they have learned to live with their differences. “I wanted to examine the role of culture in a relationship, and whether it is a mark of success,” she says. “These couples live the limitless world and are a great example for our society.” Her commitment to equality and inclusion through film earned her a prize from the “be Berlinternational” campaign, which honors citizens who promote integration in the city of Berlin. 

Josephine's 2005 Humanity in Action Fellowship in Germany reinforced her desire to ensure that her professional career included the promotion of human rights, as her work as a freelance documentary filmmaker and media educator with her own company “Global Eyes Production" shows. Through her work, Josephine has used her skills as a filmmaker to educate others about the power of film and visualize human rights. Her Video Education workshops are popular among civic and educational institutions.

Migration, integration, democracy and human rights are her favorite subjects. Her film Home tries to answer the questions: How is it to grow old in a world full of globetrotters? Who is family? What and where is home? These questions lead her to take on a personal trip from Berlin to Portugal and Colombia. In the near future, Josephine plans on making a documentary about freedom of movement, based on her idea that all citizens of the world will one day have a “World Passport” and their ability to travel will not be restricted by their individual passports. “For me, the world is one,” says Josephine, whose own mother and father experience the freedom to travel very differently. “The true boundaries and limitations seem to be in the minds of people.” 

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"For me, the world is one. The true boundaries and limitations seem to be in the minds of people. "