Cast and Team

Through our theater workshops we met amazing children that proved to be outstanding actors. They were full of joy despite of all the hardships and overcame all the challenges of the filming process with grace and energy. They truly are the light that makes the Land of Light shine.

Meet the characters of the Land of Light film and the kids who played the roles:

Noor Khaisoon as Raisa

Raisa is a child who loves mysteries and often speaks in riddles. She is strong-minded and despite her short age behaves like a grown-up. This comes from the fact that she is responsible for looking after her little brother Walid. In the children’s group, she will play the role of the leader.

Raisa is convinced that her father is still alive, even though all outside evidence speaks against this. In her mind she imagines a place where all people’s wishes are granted including her own: to return to her father´s arms. She proclaims her prophecy and the children around her begin to believe in it, while they forget about their own worries and fears.

Noor Khaisoon: 11 years old from Telbiseh (Homs). During the workshops she lived in Reyhanli with her mother and 5 older siblings. Her father travelled to Europe to seek asylum. Noor is charming and loves ice cream so much that she eats it all year round. In 2016 she was granted family reunification in the Netherlands. In her new dutch home near Eindhoven, she continues to dream of becoming a journalist.

Khaled Tlas as Firas

Firas father left to fight forcing him to take on an adult role while still being a child. Because his father fought for the rebels, Firas was held captive until Walid finds him in a jail. His imprisonment continues to haunt him with nightmares made him suspicious of any stranger. Firas has the conviction he belongs  at the front, fighting alongside his father against the enemy.

His biggest fear is that someone could see through his shield of battle-tested leader, where he hides his naive side and his need for appreciation. Although Raisa is a girl, Firas sees her as his biggest rival to compete against for the position of the leader.

Khaled Tlas: 11 years old from Al-Rastan (Homs). Khaled is a wonder child that got pulled out from under the ruins with his grandfather when his house was bombed by an aircraft. His father has difficulties to move his arm after being severely tortured by the regime in prison. During the workshops he stood out as a talented actor. He lives in Reyhanli with his parents, five younger siblings and two orphan cousins. He dreams of becoming a professional actor.

Molham Almostafa as Samir

Samir is the last one to join the group. He is not only an extraordinarily fast and resistant runner but he is also very intelligent. Even though his father is on the enemy’s side, he becomes a convinced follower of Raisa, not only because he believes her prophecy, but also because he understands the deeper meaning and human values beneath it. His spontaneous appearance during the journey makes him immediately the target of Firas paranoid suspicions.

Molham Almostafa: 11 year old from Idlib (north Syria). Molham is mature and very good at English -partly thanks to his mother Mona- who works as an English teacher. He is good at electronics and when something breaks at home all his family ask him to repair it. Unfortunately in his neighbourhood he has witnessed numerous conflicts between syrian and turkish children.

He lives in Reyhanli with his parents and 4 siblings.

Jawa Alkhassem as Sharazad

Sharazad is sweet, nice and well educated. Material values are of greatest importance in her and her parents’ world. When the war inevitably bursts her soap-bubble reality, Shaharazad is separated from her parents. She reacts by totally denying the reality. Everything is just a nightmare that will go away fast enough if she never lets go of her role of the well-mannered princess. If it were not for this, she would lose all grip. For Schaharazad, Firas is the prince that has been sent to earth to save her. The other children notice Shaharazad’s delusions and don´t take her very seriously.

Jawa Alkhassem: 11 years old from Idlib (north Syria). Lives in Reyhanli with her two older siblings, parents and brother Najm, also actor in the film. Her father works as a doctor inside of Syria and comes back and forth several times a month. At school she is one of the top students. She is bright, sharp and witty. After acting in the film she confessed that she would rather work as set designer.

Najm Alkhassem as Walid

Walid is Raisa´s younger brother and therefore the youngest in the group.

He stopped talking the moment he witnessed his father brutally disappear. He finds meaning in taking care of two bird’s eggs he comes across before setting off on the journey.  Walid is rather late in his development and toddles around so slowly that he has to be pulled in a cart – first by Raisa and later on by Firas. Strange enough it´s Shaharazad who, with her stories and barbie dolls, manages to get him out of  his mute world.

Najm Alkhassem: 7 years old from Idlib (North Syria). Lives with his family in Reyhanli and is the youngest child. Najm is incredibly intelligent, naughty and a talented tennis player. Since he moved to Reyhanli though, he has not been able to play because there is no tennis court.



Raisa Noor Khaisoon
Walid Najm Edden Al Kasem
Sharazad Jawa Al Kasem
Firas Khaled Tlas
Samir Mulham Almostafa
Abu Walid Walid Dabak
Grandmother Layla Housin


Screenplay / Buch Anke Klaaßen
Storyboard Nuno Viegas

Filming Team

Director David Ruf
Directing Assistant Karam Skaf
Camera Pierre Enz
1st AC / Steadycam-Operator Niels Voges
Gaffer Jan Wittrowski
Sound Recordist Garip Özdem
VFX-Supervisor (Set) Adrian Koch
Set Design Irai Amanha Souza
Set Design Assistant Karam Skaf
Make Up Artist Maria del Mar Marais
Catering Nastje Kovsh
Coach Maria del Mar Marais
Translator Mohammed Kadouni
Syrian Supervisor Mona Khalil
Filming Permission Erhan Kurtulus
Location Manager Melissa Kurtulus
Production Manager Silvana Santamaria
Producer Hermann TrickSilvana Santamaria

David Ruf

Casting David Steffen
Montage Sina Ataeian Dena

Speak Syria

The Speak Syria Workshops were organised from September 2013 – February 2014 in Free Syria Cafe, ReyhanliCafe Anatolia, Rehyanli

Future Builders School, Reyhanli

Care School, Kumlu

Free Syria School, Reyhanli

Speak Syria WorkshopTranslators Louay Jerf Zaher Sai`dKaram Skaf

Muhammad Kadouni

Speak Syria Workshop Leaders Maria del Mar MaraisDavid Ruf

Carl Gerber

David Steffen


VFX-Coordinator / Supervisor Tobias Kummer for Overmind Studios
VFX-Producer Francesco Faranna
Archive Hussam (Douma)Mustafa K. (Binnish)

Frederic Lafargue (Kobane)

Ruben Neugebauer (Azaz)

David Ruf (Azaz Refugee Camp)

Grading / Finishing Thorsten Löffler (Polynoid / Woodblock)
Mixing Bastian Gerner
Sound Design Ana Monte Jeff Phaklides Bastian GernerAaron Ganthus
Dialogue Editor Johannes Kuntz
Film Music / Score Manok Roussyalian
Musicians Karam SkafMarkus Personnen

Hassan Abul Fadl Hakam Wahbi

Künstlerische Beratung Helga ReidemeisterProf. Thomas Schadt
Recherche Wolfgang Bauer (Zeit)
Redaktion Brigitte Dithardt (SWR)Sabine Brantus (ARTE)


Crowdfunding Speak Syria / Startnext Juri Morasch
Co-Producer Franz u. Margit RufRollo-Firma

Barbara u. Erich Jenner

Supporter Speak Syria Lana IdrissStefan Berlin

Albert Killer

Günter Wenzel

Urlike Horn

Peter Podlich

Aaron Ganthus

Harm u. Waltraud Klaaßen

Manfred Bechtel

Timo von Gunten

Willi Meister

Johannes Ruf

Bettina Fetzer

Jürgen Braun

Leni Werres

Marius Fletschinger

If you got so far - this video is for you: