×

Cannes: Syrian Director Talks ‘Silvered Water,’ Filming Revolution on Cell Phones

Harvey Weinstein is talking about making a docu depicting Syrian refugee camps, but Ossama Mohammed, an outspoken critic of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has already made one about Syrian atrocities, “Silvered Water, Syria Self Portrait,” in which the horror is told directly by 1001 Syrian men and women documenting it daily with their cell phones.

“Silver Water” screened at Cannes out-of-competition, the only Arab film in the fest’s official selection.

“For all the people, demonstrating against Assad was an explosion of cinema. People screaming ‘Freedom! Freedom!’ and filming for the first time,” Mohammed said. “It was a revolution of cinema, of images, of expression.”

But, interestingly, the images he used also come from members of Assad’s military forces. In a clear sign of internal rebellion against the regime, the shocking torture scenes at the start of the film were shot “either by a soldier or a secret service officer,” Mohammed said.

For Mohammed one of the challenges was “to make it non-political, but rather try to describe everything that is going on from the inside.” And one of the biggest tragedies “are the soldiers, because every one of them is very possibly a slave, or a martyr if he does not obey,” he says.

Another challenge was putting all the lensers “on the same level as myself and (co-director) Wiam Simav Bedirxan. We are equal. But they were filming in the area where death and life were intersecting, while I was in exile in Paris.”

Wiam Simav Bedrixan is a young Kurdish woman in the besieged city Homs who contacted Mohammed for advice on what to film. Her powerful footage includes images of the small children she teaches.

“She is a real co-author in the film,” Mohammed said. “It’s only because of her that I could make this film.”

Simav Berdrixan has been able to get out of Homs and come to Cannes, where the two co-directors met for the first time for the pic’s world preem.

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy to Star in 'Louis Wain'

    Benedict Cumberbatch (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) are set to star in “Louis Wain,” a biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century. “Louis Wain” will start shooting on Aug. 10 with BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (“Flowers”) directing the film, which was written by Sharpe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content