“Return to Homs”: Syrian film wins U.S. Sundance Film Festival 2014


ARA News

Talal Derki’s Syrian film “Return to Homs” won the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival 2014 in Utah city, USA.  

“Return to Homs”, directed by Talal Derki, tackles the peaceful start of the Syrian uprising and the conditions of its transformation into an armed struggle till the moment the city of Homs got besieged by the pro-Assad army.

The “revolution chanter” and protagonist, Abdel Basset Alsarut, appears in the movie from the beginning of the peaceful protests while singing and dancing in the face of tanks until the moment those protesters were forced to take up arms. 

Produced by Urwah Alnerbiyah and filmed by Derki and Alnerbiyah, in addition to Qahtan Hassoun and Ossama al-Homsi, the film accompanies two young men, Alsarut and his friend Ossama, covering their lives’ details and the epiphany (turning point in their lives), to represent then an image of how life looks like while experiencing the developments of the Syrian revolution, especially in the city of Homs.

Derki dedicated the award to the besieged people in Homs, to “those deprived of food and medicine, and those who remain steadfast despite everything, as the siege enters its 600 day”. 

Derki had pointed out in a previous interview with Orient TV that the filming was at risk of being stopped at any moment and the lives of Alsarut and Ossama were continuously in danger, “they could be arrest or even killed”. Derki added that the lives of the film staff was also in danger, pointing out that Alnerbiyah was once arrested because of the film. 

“Return to Homs” was internationally first shown in Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival in November 2013. The film was supported by cultural and media institutions and was produced by the German Hans Robert Eisenhauer and Urwah Alnerbiyah, and Diana Jiroudi as a co-producer.

Alnerbiyah said in a press conference that the award means that Syrians are not left alone to the extent it might seem, and that the festival contributed to introducing the American audience to an extraordinary story from Syria.

According to Alnerbiyah, the film will be screened in Goteborg Film Festival in Sweden, Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece, One World Film Festival in the Czech Republic, Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London, Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva and Paris, Istanbul International Film Festival and in Krakow Film Festival in Poland.  


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