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Film Festival in Exile: Syria

We are happy to welcome the Film Festival in Exile: Syria as Guest at the ethnocineca 2018

“Seven Years of Famine, Seven Years of Plenty?!”
A film approach to the years of ember during the Syrian uprising (2011-2018) 

No one has ever imagined – even in his wildest dreams- that those tender breezes of spring 2011 would turn into a wind that would shake the leaves on the dull trees in Syria, spreading life through their dry roots and triggering off a demand for a change. This public demand and major protests were faced with brutal violence and international ignorance. While other countries’ protests succeeded in making remarkable political changes, unfortunately, it wasn’t the case in Syria. These demonstrations which started peacefully in the beginning couldn’t convince the regime to make any changes, and went through endless cycles of blood and fire. With this flounder, and the rise of ISIS, civilians found themselves under the hammers of violence, dictatorship, fundamentalism, and international ignorance.

For seven years, this up-rising unleashed incredible stories that have found their way to the cinemas throughout the world. A filmic coup d’état… A new Syrian wave of documentary filmmaking that started on the hands of young Syrian filmmakers who made the most of the new filmmaking technologies to continue recording this forbidden drama of life. With their mobile phones and 5Ds in hand, they headed to the center of the events, always looking for the right moment. Soon, a revolution of documentary filmmaking occurred, one that overwhelmed all Syrians. Syrians were so keen to document everything around them, the clashes with the forces, the everyday life, violent reaction to peaceful protests, refusal to ISIS existence, the pain, the loss, the small victories and the endless disappointments. Countless films were shot, edited and found their ways into festivals. And in a war zone, where foreign media are banned, the whole world was eager to see what was happening there – and these films helped.

Seven years and Syrians inside in exile are asking one question: Is it worth it? Will those seven years of pain, loss, and death be a start for a new Syria where everyone is free? Or is it seven years of famine that changed the destiny of a peaceful country forever? Three films were selected for ethnocineca 2018 with the purpose to put Syria in focus during the seven years of ember. Three films concentrate on the human side of the Syrian catastrophe. Immortal Sergeant, directed by Ziad Kalthoum, an award-wining Syrian movie and the first film to be done during the uprising, probes the unknown depths of the Syrian society during the first months of the uprising, including the people’s fear of the unknown and their struggle to keep safe .

Haunted, directed by female Syrian director Liwaa Yaziji, goes deep into the broken soul of Syrian people during the years of siege, where the people were so connected and haunted with their memories and denial of the present. A Syrian Love Story, an award winning film by Sean McAllister, a British filmmaker who was a foreign witness of what is happening in Syria during the years 2011-2015 through the life of a Syrian couple who were torn apart between home and exile - between revolution and subservience.

Three movies that will raise several questions that every Syrian asks everyday without any answer. Three movies that will invite the audience to be involved in our long-muted stories knowing that seven years isn’t the end and that there is still a long Sisyphean way to go.

The Film Festival In Exile: Syria was launched in 2015 and has been a guest at several german Film Festivals (including the DOK.fest Munich, Filmfest Dresden) in the past two years. It will take place in Austria for the first time at ethnocineca 2018.




Sean McAllister | Syria 2015 | 76 Min. | OmeU


Liwaa Yazji | Syria 2014 | 112 Min. | OmeU


Ziad Kalthoum | Syria, Lebanon 2014 | 75 Min. | OmeU