In Damascus, the Syrian director Mohammad Malas is shooting a film. War is all around, in the tatters of the city the crew is moving around in, in the discussions of the people working on the film. Everyone has their own stories and losses to bear. Everyone is intent on wondering what will happen and thinking hopefully about tomorrow.
- Best feature documentary Award - BBC Arabic Film Festival
- Firas Jawad & Marwan Ziadeh
My mandatory military service was done. I was then held in the army reserve with the revolution in my country. I was stuck for a whole year, waiting for my discharge, with no hope in sight. My military rank was sergeant. I was assigned to run Bassel AL Assad theatre that hasn’t screened a film in 15 years. I go back to my house in the middle of Damascus, take off my military suit to return to my city and to my normal life. I work withmy friend Mohammed Malas on his feature film as an assistant director. I hold my small camera and try to document our daily activities where all the technicians, mainly from the opposition, tell me their stories. Some of them had their houses shelled, some of them emigrated and doesn’t know where they are going next and some of them had their friends killed and their families displaced. I go back home,I sit and watch the news about destruction, violence, shelling… The sun rises anew, I wake up once more and put on my military suit, and go off to my military base to start a new day.
- ZIAD KALTHOUM
The Immortal Sergeant is an absolute turn, similar to the Syrian revolt, against the authority of the “Immortal Leader”.
Whenever war breaks out, this means that all kind of communication between humans has come to an end. But I realize that I can create a new language that speaks to people through cinema.
Ziad Kalthoum is a Syrian filmmaker who started filming his first medium length movie (OH, MY HEART) in 2009, about a story of a group of Kurdish women who lived in a village without men for political and social reasons. The film was banned from the screening in Syria because it is not allowed to talk about Kurdish society. It was considered as the first film to speak about the Kurds of Syria. In 2012 he began filming his feature film THE IMMORTAL SERGEANT when he was a soldier in compulsory military service at the same time of the outbreak of the Syrian revolution. The film premiered at Locarno Film Festival, and he won the Best Film Award at the BBC Arabic Film Festival. In 2013, after defecting from the Syrian army and refusing to fight against his own people, he fled to Beirut and began filming TASTE OF CEMENT that won the Best Film Award at the Visions du réel 2017 and has been nominated for the Best European Film Award at DOC ALLIANCE AWARD 2017.