Work on the International Exile Film Festival began in 1992. A committee was formed of filmmakers and actors in exile to prepare the festival start. The committee focused on the Iranians – one of the nationalities who are fleeing from their homeland. The first festival was held in Gothenburg 7 – 14 of October 1993 under the heading ” Iranian film in exile “.

The Exile Film Festival was greeted with warmth and  enthusiasm by visitors from many different ethnic groups. The public and the invited filmmakers were in complete agreement with the organizers that work on the festival must continue. Also it was broadened to include all filmmakers in exile to jointly lead the way to freedom and justice in light of social injustice and undemocratic powers. The festival could thereby develop positively across national boundaries.

Since 1995 the festival has been conducted under the slogan ” The World Is My Home “.

In cultural terms the film festival is a historic turning point for both exile filmmakers and the film world. Now Sweden with its Exile Film Festival is considered as a free zone for all exile filmmakers and as a new homeland where one appreciates multicultural work.