The refugees are here — now celebrated doc A Syrian Love Story comes to Canada

As Canada continues to welcome Syrian refugees, a new documentary offering a look at the human toll of the Syrian war is about to screen for the first time in Ontario and Quebec.

A Syrian Love Story is about to screen in Ontario and Quebec for first time, with director and subject on hand

(Cinema Politica)

As Canada continues to welcome Syrian refugees, a new documentary offering a look at the human toll of the Syrian war is about to screen for the first time in Ontario and Quebec.

They can no longer... just see 'swarms' or 'floods' of faceless figures trying to flee Syria and enter Europe or the U.K.- Sean McAllister on how A Syrian Love Story will change audiences

Montreal-based Cinema Politica — a non-profit committed to getting independently-made film and video about politics on screens across Canada — has organized a mini-tour of Sean McAllister's A Syrian Love Story, a British film that was just nominated for a BAFTA for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. Beginning on February 1, the film will go from Montreal to Toronto to Ottawa, with hopes of expanding the tour beyond those cities later in the month.

"We think it's a really important film," Cinema Politica's Tim McSorley said. "And we hope it gets people talking."

Filmed over five years, Love Story follows comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda and their journey toward political freedom. The couple met in a Syrian prison cell, communicating through a tiny hole they'd secretly made in the wall. After being released, they got married and  had two children, Kaka and Bob, all the while fighting tyrannical obstacles on behalf of the Assad dictatorship. McAllister's film portrays their story with incredible intimacy, showing the very real human impact of the Syrian war — something more than a few Canadians might need some perspective on.


 

"When people watch A Syrian Love Story they can no longer watch the crisis on TV news and just see 'swarms' or 'floods' of faceless figures trying to flee Syria and enter Europe or the U.K. — as if they are coming to steal something from us," says McAllister. "[The audience] will know Amer, Raghda, Kaka and beautiful little Bob and see a family full of love, that laugh and cry and live — and who have many friends who have died."

McAllister and one of his subjects, Amer Daoud, will both be on hand for post-screening disussion in all three cities.

A Syrian Love Story. Directed by Sean McAllister. 76 min. Mon, Feb. 1, 7pm. Concordia University, Room H-110, 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal. Tues, Feb 2, 6pm. Hot Docs Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor W.. Toronto. Thurs, Feb 4, 6:15pm. Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St., Ottawa. www.cinemapolitica.org/film/syrian-love-story

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