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Abounaddara is a collective of filmmakers working towards providing an alternative image of Syrian society. It was founded in 2010 in opposition to the prevailing representations of Syria found in the Western media.


Founded in 2010, the Abounaddara Collective is a group of filmmakers working to provide an alternative image of Syrian society, different from the prevailing representations of Syria found in the mainstream media. Since April 2011, the collective has produced one short film every week, using a very particular cinematographic language–a sort of "emergency cinema." Working in a state of emergency and subject to certain constraints, the collective's members are all volunteers and anonymous. They present ordinary men and women who are neither heroes nor victims.

Human Rights Watch will screen a series of short films from the Abounaddara Collective, which won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and explore the concept of "emergency cinema" in the context of Syria. The first section of the program will be devoted to the theme of citizen-reporters as represented by Osama al-Habali. The second section of the program will focus on the barbarism of the conflict and how it devours the soldiers involved. In both sections, the discussion will center on a generation of young people being crushed by the conflict who have chosen to defend themselves in different ways–some with images, some with arms.

Charif Kiwan, spokesperson for the Abounaddara Collective, will join us for this insightful and timely discussion.

Osama al-Habali, 25, learned to make movies when he began using his phone to document soldiers firing on peaceful demonstrators in Homs, his hometown. Because he disagreed with the mainstream media's focus on the armed aspects of the Syrian uprising, he worked hard to show the world alternative images via social media. On August 18, 2012, he was arrested at the Syrian-Lebanese border as he was returning to Syria after receiving medical care for injuries he had sustained from shrapnel in Homs. No charges were brought against Osama al-Habali by the Syrian authorities and his condition remains unknown.