There is a Certain Urgent Need

Soudade, you passed two months in Villa Romana in 2014 and were presenting two documentary films that you have produced before the war started in Syria – but still under conditions of censorship: “Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise” (2010) and “Two Cities and a Prison” (2008). In Florence then you were working on “Besieged Bread”, a short fiction film. Then in 2018 you entered the international scene at Venice Film Festival and won “The Lion of The Future award” for “best debut film” for your fist feature fiction film “The Day I lost My Shadow”. Immediately after Venice it was shown on several international festivals worldwide. Last year you won the “Sundance Grand Jury Prize” for your short film “Aziza”. The war in Syria is still going on. You still live as a refugee film maker in Beirut, in a collapsing country where everyday life is getting worse and worse for the basic needs. If I try to imagine your life and your career in these past ten, twelve years it seems to be torn apart between worst energies of destruction and strongest power of sensitive individual creation. How do you manage that?

To answer your question, I never was a refugee, I was always a resident in exile: first in Lebanon, now I moved to the UK as an exceptional talent visa resident.
Nothing was easy, especially after living in two countries that collapsed: Syria and Lebanon. Now I have to start again in the UK. Every time I feel like I build my network, my production house, I have to move to another country and start again. Maybe that is why creating projects becomes an existential need for me: To create is to survive and to imagine a better parallel reality. To elevate the mundane difficulties of daily life, whether in Syria or Lebanon in an artistic form.
There is a certain urgent need in the midst of destruction to express what happened not only by words, but in every possible medium. And for me it is via film. Making films is my only way to continue after leaving two countries that did not survive the war and the destruction yet .
Every creative work during the war is kind of a hope for a better future. I will always have the hope to return and shoot there in better conditions. To hold on the hope to return to film in Syria, means to hold on the hope that my country will recover and would be finally okay.