Twice Upon a Time

Behind the splash of headlines about the Syrian conflict, Khalil (Syrian, age 12) and Niam (Lebanese, age 32) share a rare friendship. Caught between countries, the film carefully focuses on the lives of one woman and one boy in a small village near the Lebanon/Syria border. Filmmaker and former refugee, Niam takes us through the prism of splintered memories and animated ‘re-imaginings’ of the past, to witness a young life currently caught today between countries.

The Amina Profile (2016 Critic's Award Winner)

SDFF 2016 Critic's Award: Feature Documentary

Amina, a lesbian in Syria, has a blog called ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ during the pre-civil war Arab Spring. She becomes involved in an online relationship with a Canadian lesbian. Soon after, she disappears. The international community starts searching for her. Is this a lesbian love story? Syria? The Internet? An international thriller? “The Amina Profile” shows us that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

50 Feet From Syria (2016 Audience Award Winner)

SDFF 2016 Audience Award: Short Documentary

“50 Feet From Syria” is a portrait of Syrian-American surgeon Hisham Bismar, performing intricate acts of medical necessity undeterred by the chaos and complexity of war around him. The atrocities of war and civil unrest that have plagued Syria are writ large on the bodies of the victims he treats. Through it all, Bismar perseveres. Director Fitzgerald’s film serves as a snapshot in time for the current plight of Syrian refugees.

Waves of Childhood

For three months in 2015, a group of Syrian girls living in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan participated in a media workshop designed to empower them to tell their own stories and those of the surrounding community. Given cameras and encouragement, these young women set out and created the seven short films depicting their experience and reality. The resulting work is named “Waves of Childhood” by one of the girls of the group.

A Nation Without a Homeland

Mohamed is a child refugee from Syria; he has no recollection of his family or his life before he reached Baghdad. In an attempt to reunite Mohamed with his family, filmmaker Warith Kwaish embarks on a journey, searching the refugee camps along the Iraqi-Syrian Border, desperately seeking leads as to their whereabouts. The result is bittersweet, revealing the scale of the humanitarian drama still unfolding in the region.

In Arabic with English subtitles

Part of our “Portraits of Resilience” special program.

District Zero (2016 Programmers' Award Winner)

SDFF 2016 Programmers' Award: Feature Documentary

Maamun opens the door to his shop, like he does every morning. It is a tiny white container in one of the biggest refugee camps in the world: Za’atari, in Jordan, where many Syrians have escaped from the war. In his shop, Maamun repairs his clients’ phones, whose memory cards contain their past life in Syria. He decides to provide a new service: printing these photos from the phones of the refugees who live in Za’atari.