The district of Yarmouk (Damascus, Syria) sheltered the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in the world from 1957 to 2018.
When the Syrian revolution broke out, the regime of Bashar Al-Assad saw Yarmouk as a refuge of rebels and resistance and set up a siege from 2013 on. Gradually deprived of food, medicine and electricity, Yarmouk was cut off from the rest of the world.
Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in Yarmouk and lived there until his expulsion by Daesh in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, he and his friends documented the daily life of the besieged inhabitants, who decided to face bombing, displacement and hunger with rallying, study, music, love and joy.
Hundreds of lives were irredeemably transformed by war and siege – from Abdallah’s mother, who turned into a nurse taking care of the elderly at the camp, to the fiercest activists whose passion for Palestine got gradually undermined by hunger…
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
World Premiere: Visions du Réel – April 2021
2021 ACID Cannes
2021 Syrian Doc Days, Denmark (Danish Premiere)
Upcoming: Guanajuato International Film Festival (Sept. 17-26),Filmfest Hamburg (Sept. 30 – Oct. 9), Vancouver International Film Festival (Oct. 1-11), International Film Festival Innsbruck (Oct. 5-10), BFI London (Oct. 6-17), Yamagata IDFF (Oct. 7-14)
- Interreligious Award, Visions du Réel 2021
People in the sealed-off Yarmuk refugee camp assert their humanity in the Syrian civil war despite hunger and lack of prospects, while the humanitarian world remains on the sidelines. When a small street choir sings to piano accompaniment and the noise of bombs, their song joins the sad chorale of similar sieges in world history.
Reviews: Rediff (EN), Convenzionali (IT) Little White Lies (EN), news.in-24 (EN), Middle East Eye (EN), Disappointment media (EN), Politis.fr (FR), National Herald (EN), Universal Cinema (EN), Backseat Mafia (EN), Cineuropa – review (EN), Cineuropa – exclusive trailer premiere (EN), Business Doc Europe (EN), Modern Times Review (EN), Duels (IT), Variety (EN)
Al-Khatib’s brave debut shapes up as a love letter to his fellow citizens and their humanity amidst a profoundly inhuman situationEmiliano Granada, Variety
“powerful, moving and gently poetic film”Mark Adams, Business Doc Europe
DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Abdallah Al-Khatib was born in 1989 in Yarmouk. He studied sociology at the University of Damascus. Before the revolution, he worked for the UN as coordinator of activities and volunteers. He created the humanitarian aid association Wataad, with several friends, which carried out dozens of projects in several regions of Syria, and in particular in Yarmouk. He participated in several documentary films relating the life of the Yarmouk camp, notably being one of the cameramen of 194. Us Children of the Camp which premiered at Visions du Réel in 2017. The German magazine Peace Green identified him as one of the 2014 “peacemakers”. In Sweden, he received the Per Anger Human Rights Award in 2016. Abdallah currently lives in Germany, where he was recently granted refugee status.
Director Abdallah Al-Khatib
Production Mohammad Ali Atassi for Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts, Jean-Laurent Csinidis for Films de Force Majeure
Screenplay Abdallah Al-Khatib
Editing Qutaiba Barhamji
Artistic advisor Ahmad Amro
Sound design and mix Pierre Armand
Sound editing mix studio Studio Lemon
Color grading Michael Derrosset
Production manager Nora Bertone
PRODUCER’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Mohammad Ali Atassi
Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts
Films de Force Majeure
14 rue Montgrand, 13006 Marseille, France
+33 (0)4 84 18 30 33
la Région Sud
Sundance Documentary Grant
Doha FIlm Institute
MEDIA / Creative Europe
Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy)
Scam (Bourse Brouillon d’un rêve)