This Is Exile: Diaries of Child Refugees

  • Mani Y. Benchelah
  • England, Lebanon, Switzerland
  • 2015
  • 56 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary, Benjamin Barber: Jihad vs. McWorld 2015, IDFA DOC U Competition
Over the course of a year, Emmy-award-winning director Mani Yassir Benchelah made this intimate portrait of Syrian refugee children forced to flee from the violence of civil war to neighboring Lebanon. It tells the stories of the children’s lives in their own words and captures the moving truth of how they deal with loss, hardship and dashed hopes. While her younger brother fetches water, Aya talks about how a soldier pressured her to provide information about her father. Little Nouredine lived through the siege of Homs and, stuttering, explains how he believes that President Assad’s soldiers are following him everywhere. Thirteen-year-old Layim harbors feelings of vengeance, although he actually likes nothing better than to help people, for example by handing out rations. Nearly all the children look forward to returning home one day, but Fatima, who is disabled, is thriving in Switzerland where she feels fully acknowledged for the first time. Mustafa desperately wants to study, but he has to work for the money his family needs so badly. Through the prism of their testimony, we gain perspective on the fate of millions of Syrian refugees, half of whom are children.

Credits

  • 56 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Arabic
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Mani Y. Benchelah
Production
Charly Feldman for MAKE Productions
Executive producer
Sian Kevill for MAKE Productions, Sarah MacDonald for MAKE Productions
Cinematography
Mani Y. Benchelah
Editing
Mariko Montpetit

IDFA history

2015
World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary
Benjamin Barber: Jihad vs. McWorld 2015
IDFA DOC U Competition

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IDFA history

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