15 October: IDFA opens with Syrian documentary Return to Homs

The 26th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) will open on 20 November with Return to Homs by Syrian director Talal Derki. Return to Homs follows two Syrian friends in the devastated city of Homs, who while waiting for help from the outside world have gravitated from peaceful protest to armed resistance.
The documentary was realized with a contribution from the IDFA Bertha Fund.
IDFA will take place from 20 November to 1 December on and around Rembrandtplein square.

Return to Homs
Return to Homs
, which was filmed from August 2011 to August 2013, is about a group of young revolutionary friends in the large city of Homs in Western Syria. They dream of their country being liberated from president Bashar al-Assad, and are fighting for justice through peaceful protest. As the army’s repression becomes ever harsher and their city is transformed into a ghost town, the young protestors are transformed into armed rebels. The film focuses in on two friends: charismatic 19-year-old keeper of the national football team Basset and 24-year-old cameraman and media activist Ossama. As viewers, we are drawn in and almost feel part of their group, giving us an insider’s impression of the war. "The world is looking on as we are murdered, one by one, and remains silent as the grave”, the director says in one of his few comments.

Director Talal Derki (Damascus, 1977) graduated in 2003 from the film academy in Athens. He has made a number of short films and documentaries, including A Full Line of Trees (2005), Hero of all Seas (2010) and Lajat (2012). The film was produced by Orwa Nyrabia (Syria) and Hans Robert Eisenhauer (Germany). 
Nyrabia previously produced Diana El Jeiroudi’s Dolls – A Woman from Damascus, which screened at IDFA in 2007. Nyrabia, a regular guest at IDFA, is also co-founder and co-director of the DOX BOX International Documentary Film Festival in Syria, which since the outbreak of the war has continued outside of Syria under the name DOX BOX – Syria Global Day.

IDFA Bertha Fund
In 2012, Return to Homs received a financial contribution from the IDFA Bertha Fund, which supports documentary projects in developing countries.
This is the first time a film supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund will open the festival.

The IDFA Bertha Fund is supported by the Bertha Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hivos, the Culture of Resistance Network and Media Mundus.

Return to Homs was a project at the IDFA Forum in 2012.

Return to Homs is also competing for the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, which IDFA presents for the best full-length documentary. On Friday 29 November, the winners of IDFA’s various competition programmes will be announced at the closing ceremony in Amsterdam’s Compagnietheater.

INFORMATION FOR THE PRESS:

To be eligible for a press pass for IDFA, you must complete the accreditation process before 1 November.

CONTRARY TO PREVIOUS ANNOUNCEMENTS, THE PRESS CONFERENCE, FOLLOWED BY THE SCREENING OF THE OPENING FILM WILL TAKE PLACE ON WEDNESDAY 6 NOVEMBER AT 10 AM AT FREDERIKSPLEIN 52. IF YOU WISH TO ATTEND PLEASE CONACT Eva van Barneveld IN ADVANCE. 
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