Ziad Kalthoum | Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar 2017 | 85 Min. | OmeU

In Beirut, Syrian construction workers are building a skyscraper while at the same time their own houses at home are being shelled. The Lebanese war is over but the Syrian one still rages on. The workers are locked in the building site. They are not allowed to leave it after 7p.m. The Lebanese government has imposed night-time curfews on the refugees. The only contact with the outside world for these Syrian workers is the hole through which they climb out in the morning to begin a new day of work. Cut off from their homeland, they gather at night around a small TV set to get the news from Syria. Tormented by anguish and anxiety, while suffering the deprivation of the most basic human and workers right, they keep hoping for a different life.

Website Film

Director: Ziad Kalthoum
Camera: Talal Khoury
Editing: Alex Bakri, Frank Brummundt
Sound: Ansgar Frerich
Producer: Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert, Mohammad Ali Atassi

Best Feature of the International Competition – Visions du Réel
Special Mention – Valetta Film Festival
Grand Prix for the Best Feature Documentary – Mediterranean Film Festival
The Emerging International Filmmaker Award – Open City Documentary Festival in London
The Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature – Camden International Film Festival
The Best Doc Film – Batumi International Art-House Film Festival
Doc Alliance Selection Award
The Flinders University International Best Documentary Award – Adelaide Film Festival
The New Wave Competition Prize – La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival
Jury Prize – FRONTDOC 2017
Golden Key – Kasseler Dokfest
Special Jury Prize – RIDM
Don Quixote Prize for Best Feature Film – l’Alternativa, Festival de Cine Independiente de Barcelona
Special Mention in the Official Feature Film Section – l’Alternativa, Festival de Cine Independiente de Barcelona
Open Eyes Prize – MedFilm Festival
Emerging Director Prize – Porto/Post/Doc
Best Documentary Feature – Dubai International Film Festival
The Audience Award – Ramdam Film Festival
Puma Award, Best Film – Festival Internacional de Cine UNAM (FICUNAM)
The Audience Award – Festival Internacional de Cine UNAM (FICUNAM)
Filmkunstfest Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Best Cinemathography
The Critics Awards, Arab Cinema Center – Best Documentary
Best Documentary Award at the Oran International Film Festival Algiers
Silver Nanook – Festival Flahertiana

Filmography as director
2011 I AYDIL (OH, MY HEART) I short documentary
Selected for Journées Cinematographiques Karthago
2013 I AL-RAKIB AL KHALED (THE IMMORTAL SERGEANT) I feature documentary, 75min
World Premiere at Locarno Film Festival 2014
Best Feature Documentary Award – BBC Arabic Film Festival
2017 I TASTE OF CEMENT I feature documentary, 85min
Winner of Sesterce d’Or for Best Feature Documentary, Visions du Réel 2017
World Premiere at Visions du Réel

Ziad Kalthoum is a Syrian filmmaker currently living in Berlin. He was born in Homs in 1981 and holds a degree in film studies. In first documentary OH MY HEART (2009) he portrayed a group of Kurdish women, who have chosen to live in a society without men. The film was banned from screening in Syria due to political reasons. In 2012, during the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, he began working on his first feature film THE IMMORTAL SEARGANT while serving a compulsory military service. The film had its premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2014. In 2015, he won the BBC Arabic Festival in the ‘Best Feature Documentary’ category.
Refusing to fight his own people, he deserted from the Syrian Army in 2013 and fled to Beirut where he started to work on TASTE OF CEMENT. The film has been traveling to festivals around the world and has won various awards, among them the Golden Sesterce for Best Feature Documentary at Visions du Réel in 2017.