Have a quick journey with us through the exceptional origination process of the Land of Light film.
The film is a collaboration of refugees from Syria and an international filming team. All actors are non-professionals, children that we met in the workshops that we organised in the months before the filming.
These workshops, coined Speak Syria, were organised from September 2013 – February 2014 in:
Free Syria Cafe, Reyhanli, Cafe Anatolia, Rehyanli, Future Builders School, Reyhanli, Care School, Kumlu, Free Syria School, Reyhanli
VIDEO WORKSHOP EBRAHIM MAKDA
With the goal to offer meaningful and fun activities for children, but also to get to know the people and their stories, we offered in October 2013 – February 2014 a variety of workshops in the Turkish-Syrian border town Reyhanli.
Our groups were often mixed, girls and boys aged 12 and younger. We worked in different locations: On weekends and holidays we offered activities in gardens and football pitches whilst on weekdays we worked in schools with the help of the teachers, using the classrooms and playgrounds. The workshops were mainly inspired in Theater Forum, Theater of the Oppressed and Method Acting activities and games. On some occasions we also offered sport activities, script writing, music, face-painting and art workshops.
WHERE DID WE ORGANIZE THE WORKSHOPS?
MAP AND REYHANLI IMPRESSIONS
Our activities took place in Reyhanlı, a town and district of Hatay Province, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, near the country’s border with Syria.
Reyhanli is a particular place because it’s in constant change and because of how the war has influenced it. In the last years the population of Reyhanli has more than tripled due to the steady increase of Syrians reaching Turkey. It is indeed very difficult, if not impossible, to find accommodation in Reyhanlı. Housing prices are skyrocketing forcing some families to live in tents, garages or make-shift homes. Considering all these difficulties the Syrians have managed to set up local business like restaurants and cafes, hospitals and informal schools as they wait for their return home, simultaneously so far and so close.
TWO EXAMPLES FROM THE WORKSHOP
I PAINTING GAME
PHOTO ALBUM PAINTING GAME
This is an example of one of the games we played: Everyone is given a long roll of blank paper. At the count of three we ask each child to write a sentence. The topic is completely free. Once written, each kid hands the paper over to the classmate who sits behind him/her, and receives the paper from the kid in front. Now, everyone is asked to make a drawing of what they read in the sentence, and, when finished, fold the paper and pass it on. The kids this time see a drawing in front of them and have to interpret it by writing a short story. The game goes on following the same ritual until the paper returns to the kids who wrote the first sentence on it. At the end the paper is unfolded and story written by everyone is revealed.
PHOTO ALBUM SUPERHEROES
EXHIBITION: PLAYING WITH MY INSIDE WAR
During the workshops in Reyhanli, we collected lots of drawings, games, craft-works and impressions. This material was so precious to us, that we decided to make it into an exhibition. “Playing With My Inside War” aims to give an idea, through art, of how the experience of war is affecting children’s ideas, associations and dreams. The exhibition, curated by Maria del Mar Marais, was shown in the Humboldt University in Berlin, in Kino Pushkin in Halle and in the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg among other locations during spring 2014.
CROWDFUNDING FOR THE FILM
In order to finance the film, we started a crowdfunding on Startnext (https://www.startnext.com/speak-syria/) and raised about 20.000€ for the filming, which made crowdfunding the main funding source of the project.
We kicked off the Crowdfunding in December 2013, with a song by David Steffen – one of our workshop leaders. Since it is so beautiful, here it comes again.
Thanks for following up on our story and once more, THANK YOU to our supporters for making this project possible.