Silvered Water – Syrian Self-Portrait (Ma’a al-fidda)

Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan, Syria/France, 2014, 92 min, in Arabic with English Subtitles

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In Syria, everyday, YouTubers film, then die; others kill, then film.

The exiled Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed joins forces with the newcomer Wiam Simav Bedirxan, a young Kurdish woman from Homs whose first name Simav means silvered water. The two use thousands of videos that were taken clandestinely under continuous shelling to craft a chronicle of daily life in a town under siege.

Ossama’s life in exile started after his bold comments in support of political prisoners in Syria during Cannes Film Festival in 2011. He was only able to follow the events in his country through YouTube and Facebook messages. One day he receives a message from Simav: “If your camera were here, in Homs, what would you be filming?” The conversation initiated a long-distance collaboration between the two that resulted in Silvered Water –Syrian Self-Portrait. When the film premiered at Cannes Film Festival this year, it was regarded as a masterpiece. After the screening, Simav was welcomed on stage with a standing ovation.