Filmmaker turned Freedom Fighter

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For Matthew VanDyke, the conflicts in the Middle East are seen in black and white, with little room for nuance. He took up arms in Libya. And his camera in Syria. He's not a soldier, but an ordinary American who says he's fighting for liberty and democracy.



 

Trailer for the documentary, Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, directed by Matthew VanDyke.


Freedom is a distant dream for most Syrians. Over two million have fled and over a one hundred thousand have died. But despite today's bloody and complicated war, a new documentary focuses on that old hope.

matthew-vandyke-250.jpg

U.S. filmmaker Matthew VanDyke sits inside his
former cell in the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
(Franciso Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Matthew VanDyke is an American filmmaker whose short documentary is called Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution. It premiers in Canada today.

While the camera may be trained on Syrian rebels, Matthew VanDyke is receiving a fair amount of attention himself. That's because the 34-year-old is not simply a filmmaker. He also calls himself a freedom fighter.

In 2011, VanDyke was arrested in Libya while fighting alongside anti-Gadaffi forces. And in Syria, he wore the uniform of a Free Syrian Army soldier.

Matthew VanDyke is back in the United States now and joined us from our New York studio.


WHERE TO SEE THE FILM IN CANADA

September 6, 2013 (Toronto, Canada) - Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival
September 19-29, 2013 (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - Calgary International Film Festival
September 26 - October 5, 2013 (Edmonton, Canada) - Edmonton International Film Festival
September 26 - October 11, 2013 (Vancouver, Canada) - Vancouver International Film Festival
October 3, 2013 (Cinema du Parc, Montreal, Canada) - Zero Film Festival Montreal
October 4, 2013 (918 Bathurst, Toronto, Canada) - Zero Film Festival Toronto


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This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica DeMello.


Bashar al-Assad's Instagram account

So, Matthew Van Dyke makes films with a definite point of view -- if you're wondering what kind of counter-information Damascus publishes, look no further than President Bashar al-Assad's Instagram account. Entire cities are in ruin and tens of thousands are dead in Syria, but you wouldn't know it from what's posted there.

There are lots of photos of the First Lady doing good deeds, and Assad himself being warmly greeted by the people of Syria ... Critics call it blatant propaganda.

We've posted a few of the photos from the account here. What do you think?



MONDAY: WWAD? Coming up on Monday -- if Washington does go ahead with a military strike on Syria --- what will Assad do next? Anna Maria speaks with the president's cousin, now in exile.

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