Of all the Arab Springs or Awakenings, the Syrian uprising has been the most YouTubed. After 2012, Syrian citizen journalists, filmmakers and ‘filmers’ – people with no experience of professional filmmaking – posted some 300,000 short films, reports and moving images on the Internet. The majority of these works, recorded on mobile recording devices, ushered in a new documentary aesthetic on the ways in which the last four years of conflict in Syria has been captured, seen, portrayed and explored.
Following the film, a panel discussion will take place, featuring clips from the work of two featured Syrian filmmakers:
Yasmin Fedda is a director whose recent films include the documentary Queens of Syria (2014), about Syrian refugee women performing Euripides’ ‘The Trojan Women’ and Tale of Two Syrias (2012), intimate portrayals of two real life characters, an Iraqi fashion designer in Damascus and a man who has sought refuge in a Christian monastery.
Zaher Omareen is a Syrian director, writer and artist. His films include Two Stories (2013), about exile, a red trainer and different visual approaches to remembering conflict, as well as his current film project which draws on footage from inside the Syrian conflict. Omareen is the artistic director of Syria’s Mobile Phone Film Festival, an international competition featuring pocket films, mobile-mentaries and smartphone films, all recorded on mobile recording devices, which held festival screenings in war-torn Syria last year. Zaher will appear via Skype
Their discussion with the moderator Malu Halasa, will explore the new aesthetics of documentary filmmaking coming out of the Syrian experience; filmmaking during the time of conflict; the power of the image to inform, change international opinion as well as provide a platform for individual expression; and the challenges facing filmmakers after four hard years of conflict, among other topics. The discussion will be illustrated by showing clips from the filmmakers’ work.