One Night for Syria

A Flood in Bath Country (Director: Omar Amiralay)

For once the images that reach us from Syria will not be from a shelling in Homs framed through the news hour of a major television network.

As the fighting and killings continue in Syria, there is a worldwide solidarity movement that aims not only to remember the country’s year of uprising, but also to acknowledge an annual documentary festival that would usually be taking place at this time in cities such as Damascus, Homs and Tartous. On the 15th of March 2012, several world cities will gather to promote the Syrian Film Festival, Dox Box.

Dox Box Global Day is an initiative to keep the festival alive at a time when it is unable to take place in the country. Spreading its ideology from the East to the West through the screening of important works of Syrian documentary cinema, Dox Box will allow people in places including Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, London, New York to view Syria through a different lens. These films will also create an opportunity to celebrate its culture and its people. The organizers say the aim is to carry “the best of Syrian documentary films to screen parts of the Syrians’ lives back from the seventies, and to tell more about Syria, what it is, who we are, and maybe give a glance of what actually made the country rise up shouting for freedom.”

London’s Frontline Club - The renowned hub for journalists – will host the UK screening night of three documentaries, in collaboration with Reel Festivals. Two of the works are by Syrian Filmmaker Omar Amiralay who is considered one of the most prominent Arab World documentary filmmakers. The late director was a co-founder and president of the Arab Institute of Film and a close advisor to Dox Box, since it was initiated in 2007.  The third documentary, a late addition entitled ‘Tournesols - Al-Rastan’ was one of the few movies to be released during the revolution. It takes us around Al-Rastan, a town in the city of Homs, through the words of a storyteller and the eyes of a filmmaker who remains anonymous.

Dox Box was the first non-profit and open-to-public creative documentary film festival in Syria and started as an initiative of independent filmmakers. The festival  runs annually during the first two weeks of March and tours in other Arab cities as part of a Pan-Arab Cultural Network. Its main mission is to bring together the Arab and international filmmaking community and showcase some of the world’s best creative documentaries in a friendly and dynamic environment.

Screenings begin at 7 pm and include: Film Essay on the Euphrates Dam  Director: Omar Amiralay (Year: 1970) A Flood in Baath Country Director: Omar Amiralay (Year: 2003)  Tournesols - Al-Rastan Director: Anonymous (Year :2011)


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