British Columbia

Rupture: a Syrian cast of young first-time actors and war survivors

The film introduces a Syrian cast of young first-time actors and war survivors who channel their personal experiences of loss and new beginnings.

The film depicts quiet internal struggles of Syrian teens adjusting to new life

Rupture: a short film with much depth

6 years ago
Duration 7:22
Rupture is a short film about Syrian teenagers finding new community in Surrey

Rupture is a short film where the moments when the actors don't speak hold the most meaning. Throughout the 19-minute film, a teenaged Syrian refugee named Salim learns how to soften his "r's" to have more passable English.

Rupture is about regaining a sense of normalcy after suffering loss.

Cathartic filmmaking

Writer and director Yassmina Karajah says this was a film made from her gut. She knew she wanted to make a film with the Arabic community in Canada.

When Karajah met a teen refugee, she asked what he did the on first day he arrived in Canada. "I was expecting a certain type of story, and he said 'actually we walked around trying to find the public pool,'" said Karajah.

The actors have been though war in their real lives and channelled their own sense of loss in depicting their characters. (Yassmina Karajah/David Findley)

All the actors in the film, most of whom are Syrian refugees, have fled war. For many, it was their first acting role, but Karajah said it wasn't difficult for them to "find their motivation."

"With a first time actor there's just something authentic about the way they behave right off the bat."


Karajah said they did a month of rehearsals before rolling the camera. A lot of that time included conversations revolving around who they are as people and how similar they are to the characters they play.

Salam Al Marzouq has been in Canada for two years after fleeing Syria and is one of the first-time actors.

 Al Marzouq says she's caught the acting bug. "Now I'm making a film in my school's drama class with my friends," she said.

Rupture plays at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 10th.

See Al Marzouq and Karajah in conversation with Gloria Macarenko on Our Vancouver.

Our Vancouver