About the Film
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Syria to Europe since 2015. They live among us, and yet they are “not really here”. Their mobile phones often transmit messages and videos from Syria every minute: the war is always present on their phone and they can‘t do anything about it.
The film portraits 4 people in Europe torn between these two realities and gives an intimate insight into daily life in Syria through private messages and videos of people inside the war zone.
From Z. who is managing a women‘s center in heavily bombed rebel area Idlib and who tries to lead her everyday life. From Shahinaz’ mother and sister, trying to escape to Europe, from Omars’ friends inside an ISIS-controlled area and from J. who has been in a Syrian prison for more than 5 years without trial.
About the concept
Private photos, videos and messages have strong emotional force: these are not the anonymous pictures we see on news broadcasts, but rather messages from the friends and relatives of our protagonists. They arrive every few weeks, or daily. During a walk through a park or while shopping videos showing bombings might appear on the screen; in a café, the latest ISIS propaganda appears with a list of those recently executed, among which some of whom may be friends.
The pictures provide contrast: shopping streets and streets bombed beyond recognition, children playing and those injured being recovered from rubble, giggling girls in front of a school and fully veiled women in ISIS-controlled areas.
The pictures allow us to come close: We are there as relatives try to escape, as friends get bombed or try to risk their lives to send messages from ISIS territory.
We are also there, when there are suddenly no more messages. And we can feel the helplessness of those who escaped to safe places in Europe but who can’t enjoy their freedom because the war still goes on.
How the film is made
The film was realized through an Open Call on our website and research by our team. We invited people who fled Syria to Europe to be part of the film. People who constantly receive news from their home country. From their family or friends who text, call, skype or send them videos about what it means to live in Aleppo or Damascus, or under ISIS. We accompanied some of them for almost a year. We wanted to show their situation and give the war a face.