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These Middle Eastern Films Have Made it to America’s Largest Documentary Festival

America’s largest documentary festival Doc NYC is in full swing in Manhattan, New York. The festival started on November 6 and will go on until November 15 featuring more than 300 films. During the week, special events will be hosted around the city like panel discussions, workshops, and appearances by film directors. 

For Sama. Courtesy of Channel 4 News/ITN Productions

This year, two award-winning Syrian films have made the shortlist – For Sama and The Cave. A winner at Cannes and South by Southwest film festivals, For Sama tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s fearless adventure through the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. During this time, Kateab falls in love with and weds a doctor – who works at the only functioning hospital in Aleppo, and has a little girl, Sama. Kateab needs to make a difficult decision of whether she should remain in Syria and battle for the nation’s freedom or leave the nation to shield her little girl from consistent dangers. The documentary which is Kateab’s detailed letter to her daughter Sama, was directed along with filmmaker Edward Watts. 

The Cave is another sensational piece of work produced by the Oscar-nominated Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad and recently won the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award. Shot in an underground medical clinic run by female specialists in Ghouta close to Damascus, Syria, the film portrays the entire city resembling a dystopian world. The film has been made in a joint effort with National Geographic Documentary Films.

Other featured films highlighting people, and places of the Middle East are Advocate, The Human Factor, and This is Not a Movie.

Advocate is a film based on an Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel who has defended Palestinians in court for five decades. The film directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche offers insight into the understanding of the working, and inclinations of Israeli law for Palestinians. On the other hand, The Human Factor is produced by the filmmaker Dror Moreh about the quarter-century negotiations between Israel and Palestine by the US. The fundamental insiders on camera are top American ambassadors who vouch for the human factor.

This is Not a Movie is a film delivered by Yung Chang who profiles the popular Middle East journalist Robert Fisk following his reporting projects and missions from the Middle East and neighboring areas, while additionally thinking back on the exceptional performance that carried him eye to eye with Osama Bin Laden.

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