New Syrian Film Festival brings stories of people and of hope

In News by MIIC

Syrian-born Siba Al-Khadour, has served as a board member for Toronto’s Syria Film Festival since its inception in 2015 and recently saw an opportunity to bring films to Waterloo.

Al-Khadour is co-founder of Najda Now Canada, a refugee support organization in Kitchener and she had also been working with the multicultural theatre company, MT Space.

“They’re amazing people,” she enthused. “We talked about coming together to do a project.”

Bringing the film festival to Waterloo seemed the perfect collaboration and on Nov. 17, 18 and 19, all 10 films from the Toronto Syria Film Festival will be shown at Lazaridis Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University. The three-day festival is a partnership between MT Space, Najda Now and Laurier’s International Students Overcoming War.

“Toronto encouraged us to do our own festival but I like to do a partnership,” she said. “We are showing the same films as shown in Toronto.”

The Toronto festival, which ran Nov. 10 to 12, started in 2015 with three screenings at the Art Gallery of Ontario. This year’s festival screened 10 films, all with Syrian stories though the films were made around the world: Syria, United Kingdom, Germany, the U.S. the Netherlands.

The three-day Waterloo festival includes several shorts as well as feature length films, several are subtitled and all tell a powerful story.

Director, Zaina Erhain, created a series of shorts on women activists who have fought for freedom entitled “Syria’s Rebellious Women.” One of those films, the six-minute “Mona” will be screened Nov. 18.

The dangerous business of journalism in a war torn country is featured in the film “City of Ghosts” which follows a group of activists and citizen journalists working to expose war crimes committed by ISIS. Their lives and those of their families are in constant jeopardy.

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