Architecture on Film: Flotel Europa + Q&A

A tale of coming of age and the refugee experience, director Vladimir Tomic intimately reflects upon his youth moored in Copenhagen’s docks – in a converted ship housing 1000 refugees seeking asylum from the 1992 Bosnian war.


07:00pm, Thursday, 23 June 2016


09:00pm, Thursday, 23 June 2016


Cinema 3
Barbican, Beech Street, London EC2Y 8AE



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This is a past event

This screening is part of the London Festival of Architecture 2016

Related Event

This screening forms part of the Architecture Foundation’s exploration of the art, urbanism and conditions of migrant communities affected by the European refugee crisis, as part of the AF's programme for the London Festival of Architecture 2016.

Papers, a related event on 12 June, will explore these issues through a day-long festival of the art, culture and architecture of the refugee crisis.

Find out more

Flotel Europa

We are delighted that director Vladimir Tomic will join Gali Gold (Curator, Barbican Film) for a live Skype Q&A after this screening – the London premiere of his film Flotel Europa.

An autobiopic tale of coming of age and the refugee experience, through a cinematic collage of archive footage and VHS letters home, director Vladimir Tomic intimately reflects upon his youth on the ‘Flotel’ – a giant converted ship moored in Copenhagen’s canal.

With existing refugee camps completely full, the Red Cross adapted a giant ship to house 1000 asylum seekers from the 1992 war in Bosnian and Herzegovina, pulling the Flotel into town to perform as a temporary home, whilst its inhabitants awaited decisions on their applications.

12 year old Vladimir fled the siege of Sarejevo with his mother and brother. 20 years later, he reflects – with insight, intimacy and humour – upon his time spent onboard the gigantic ship; a floating limbo where the echoes of war mixed with the adventures of adolescence.

From crushes on the unattainable Melissa and the Flotel’s interpreter Marina, to monthly communal birthday parties, teenage exploits in the sauna, and the complex realities of cultural difference and displacement, we reside alongside the residents in a giant steel ship where tiny cabins are filled with the smell of coffee, and public spaces frame the conflicts, dreams and frustrations of a community seeking passage to Europe.

As Europe searches for social, political and physical solutions to contemporary mass migration and the needs of millions of refugees, the film offers a potent and poetic first-person document. Through the memories that accompany the hazy static of the film’s collage of archival material and video messages back home, Tomic narrates a highly personal tale from one of the historic waves of migration and conflict that have, and continue, to rock the world – seen here through the playful and open eyes of an adolescent with plenty of other things on his mind.

Denmark/Serbia, 2015, Vladimir Tomic, 70mins