Our Ambassador of the Week is Begonia Randhav who represents Sweden. As the Founder and CEO of Retina Randhav Film, Begonia has striven to tell impactful stories pertaining to social issues which often do not receive the attention they deserve.
On 26 June, Begonia received the Mediterranean Award at the Tracce Cinematografiche Film Festival for her short film, Vägen hem / The way home, in which she herself plays the protagonist. The film depicts a family struck by war and forced to escape, putting the family through a precarious ordeal in the face of a humanitarian crisis. The award itself is the Festival’s most prestigious, a well-deserved recognition for a film which portrays the challenge and strife faced by over 60 million refugees today. Having Kurdish and Arab roots herself, the current situation in the Middle East resonates deeply with Begonia.
The recognition The way home has received extends even further. It won Best Short, Best Director, and Best Actress at the Top Indie Film Awards, is a finalist for the Best Foreign Film at the American Movie Awards, and received an honorary mention for Best Short Film at the Focus Film Festival in Uppsala. Begonia herself received the Cine-Magician Award at Sweden’s Short Film Festival, given to the most promising filmmaker. The way home is making its way around international film festivals.
The way home is not her only successful project; Begonia has received extensive acclaim for her film Stödgruppen/The support group which addresses the issue of rape culture. The idea for the film was born after working closely with women refugees who were victims of abuse as well as working tirelessly in a legal unit to put their abusers behind bars. Begonia wanted to create a film which spoke up for those without a voice in society, and highlighted the issue of blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator. Its world premiere took place in April at the International Female Film Festival Malmö; it won Best Short Film at the Focus Film Festival.
As well as having a passion for film, Begonia has an academic background in governance, political science, and international affairs, and is currently studying law at Stockholm University. She has worked for the UNHCR, and was the Millennium Development Goal Ambassador for the UN’s Association of Sweden. On top of this, she works with unaccompanied refugee minors and volunteers for the Red Cross. An active supporter of human rights, she launched a successful campaign in 2014 to build awareness for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, receiving attention from Swedish media and politicians throughout 2015 and even today.