The film is a portrait of a radical close-knit Islamist family and their brutal daily lives in war-torn Syria. Derki’s previous Sundance-winning documentary “Return to Homs” won the grand jury prize in 2014 in the same category as well.
In his latest, Derki returns to his homeland where he gained the trust of Abu Osama, one of the founders of Al-Nusra, the Syrian arm of Al-Qaeda. He spent two and a half years documenting Abu and his eight young sons who are on the path to becoming Jihadi fighters. The intimate documentary closely follows Abu and his two eldest sons Osama (13 years old and named after Osama bin Laden) and Ayman (12) as the two boys prepare to enter a Jihadist military training camp.
“The result is as despairing as any portrait of close-knit family and dedicated parenthood can be, adeptly blending sensationalism with domestic intimacy, and sincerely eye-opening in its portrayal of inherited Islamist fervor,” Guy Lodge wrote in his review for Variety.
The deal was negotiated by Richard Lorber and Wendy Lidell — senior VP of Kino Lorber — with UTA Independent Film Group, Dan Cogan of Impact Partners, and Tobias Siebert of Basis Berlin.
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“This is simply one of the most chilling documentaries we have ever seen — a terrifying insight into child rearing for a new generation of jihadists … with it’s unprecedented access and intimacy, it’s an instant and unforgettable classic of documentary filmmaking,” Lorber said.
The film will be released in theaters in the fall followed by an Academy Award campaign. VOD and home video releases are scheduled for early 2019.