“The only revolution that has really succeeded since the start of the Arab Spring is that of freedom of expression,” says Syrian producer Orwa Nyrabia. “This new generation is so motivated to engage creatively through writing, film, music, cartoons. This is something that even ISIS cannot stop.”...Here is a clip from the documentary Return to Homs:
Nyrabia, who was imprisoned by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces following the start of the Syrian revolution, has been at the forefront of the rise in citizen filmmaking and journalism by those who refuse to be beaten into silence by the extremists. He co-produced Return To Homs, which won the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for documentary earlier this year, as well as Silvered Water, Syria Self Portrait.
Both films exemplify the huge number of documentaries and short form content now being produced from areas virtually inaccessible to many mainstream journalists.
Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait, for example, was co-directed by exiled Syrian filmmaker Oussama Mohammed and young Kurdish activist Wiam Simav Bedirxan. The film was crafted from thousands of hours of footage secretly filmed by Bedirxan while under siege in Homs, and edited by Mohammed in Paris. The finished film received its world premiere in Cannes and its North American premiere at Toronto.
All of this is enough to remind you of Orson Welles’ quip in The Third Man about terror, warfare, murder and bloodshed in Italy under the Borgias giving us the Renaissance — while 500 years of democracy and peace in Switzerland gave us the cuckoo clock.
I guess it should come as no surprise to all of us that our "cuckoo clock" media can only tell us about the horrors of ISIS and have missed the much more interesting story that's been captured here by Ali Jaafar - who covers the region's TV and film industries - and the artists/journalists he introduces us to.
If we were to learn more of this story, we might realize that its not all about us...its mostly about them.
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