Syrian documentary wins London Film Festival 2014

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Kurdish filmmaker Wiam Simav Bedirxan (L) and director Usama Muhammad won documentary award for Syrian film in London Film Festival

ARA News

Geneva, Switzerland – A Syrian documentary film won an award in the London Film Festival on Saturday.

The film, which depicts some in-depth aspects of the ongoing civil war in Syria, was granted the documentary prize in London. 

“Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait,” by director Usama Muhammad and Kurdish filmmaker Wiam Simav Bedirxan, depicted the brutality of war and the hard living conditions in the besieged Syrian city of Homs. 

The film was originally premiered in the Cannes Film Festival 2014. 

Muhammad had been in political exile in Paris for eight months when, around Christmas 2011, he received a message through his Facebook account from the young Kurdish activist and filmmaker in Homs, sources close to the Syrian director said. 

Trapped under heavy shelling and aerial bombardment, Simav asked him: “If your camera were here, in Homs, what would you be filming?”

For Muhammad, the trigger was footage of a teenager arrested and tortured by Bashar al-Assad’s security forces, posted on YouTube by the boy’s captors at the outset of the insurgency, TIFF reported.  

Over two years, Muhammad filmed in Paris and distilled stories from thousands of videos posted by Syrians online, as well as from the footage that Simav herself was shooting in Homs.

Under siege, Simav’s camera became her salvation, while her astounding steadfastness and courage became to Muhammad a metaphor for a new Syria being born from the devastation of war.  

“I felt I was in front of a woman teaching a man how to build his life,” he said. 

According to observers, the artistic efforts of Simav, Kurdish for “silvered water,” together with Muhammad resulted in a masterpiece after its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. 

Reporting by: Lorin Silo

Source: ARA News 

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