Member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, Nazir Hakim, met with two producers of the Syrian film “The Cave” before they travelled to the United States to compete for the 2020 Academy Award in the documentary films category along with the other Syrian film “For Sama.”
The two films made it to the shortlist of the competition which includes five films. This is the first time that two Syrian films make it to the shortlist of films nominated for this category.
Hakim stressed the importance of films, especially documentaries, in exposing the crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its backers in Syria in international forums. He pointed out that this places the whole world in front of a moral challenge to assume its responsibilities and help the Syrian people to achieve their demands for freedom and justice.
He pointed out that the two Syrian films summarize what happened and is happening in Syria and more recently in Idlib, where more than six million Syrians have been living in dire conditions under fierce bombing for more than two months.
Mohamed Khair Al-Shami, one of the producers in of the film “The Cave,” said that one of the two Syrian films nominated to win the prize is a victory for the cause of the Syrian people in the face of the regime. He also said that making it to the shortlist contributes to conveying and documenting what happened in Syria to the Western audience, which is often not fully aware of the reality of what is happening on the ground.
Al-Shami explained that the shooting of the film “The Cave” lasted for more than three years with more than 500 hours of footage which were made into an hour and a half film.
He pointed out that the production team faced many difficulties, as one of the photographers, Ammar Suleiman, was injured and his leg was amputated in shelling that the team was subjected to whiling shooting the film.
Directed by Firas Fayyad, The Cave revolves around the pediatrician Amani Balour and her team and their suffering in managing a small hospital they dubbed “The Cave” as it was built underground to avoid the bombing. The film shows the suffering of the doctor and the team working within the hospital while treating thousands of injuries as well as their treatment of many critical cases using simple tools and despite the tightened blockade imposed on the region.
Amani has recently won the Raoul Wallenberg Prize presented by the Council of Europe in recognition of her exceptional humanitarian achievements.
The second film “For Sama”, directed by Waad Al-Khatib, won the British Academy Film Awards BAFTA for the best documentary film in addition to many awards, including the Golden Eye award at the Cannes Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival as well as a number of awards at the British Independent Film Awards festival.
The film revolves around the life of Waad, her husband and their little daughter and how they lived in the city of Aleppo and worked to help people and document what is going on despite the heavy bombardments by Russia and the Assad regime.
The awards will be announced in a big ceremony and in the presence of some of the most prominent directors and movies stars from around the world in Los Angeles, USA, next Sunday. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)