“I have many difficulties and obstacles in producing movies inside Syria.”
Interview with director Tamim Kalash, “Eyes in Qaah” (2015. Syria)
“Eyes in Qaah” (2015, Syria) screens Sunday, April 23, 2017 as part of the session “War Stories.”
Synopsis: This documentary follows the lives of two young girls, Katia and Fatima, who live in “Qaah,” a refugee camp inside Syria, near the Turkish border. Through their eyes and voices, their heartbreaking story narrates the agony of the Syrians who were forced to leave, showing the new way of life those who are displaced must endure.
Q. What inspired you to make this film?
A.“The songs of Katia and Fatima (The film’s main characters) embody the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and a decent life, as well as the melodies of their voices were inspired by the hope of a better tomorrow. Their love to life and their will to start living in a happy way in spite of their bad reality and difficult details of their lives in the camp on the border with Turkey keeps them as they thought away from war and not inside it.”
Q. What do you want American audiences to know about this film or about the subject matter?
A. “I want everyone to know that this story, which took place at the Qaah camp, happens every day in many regions of Syria, with different people, places and they unfortunately continue to happen.”
Q. Is it difficult to make films in your home country? Why or why not?
A. “Sure, I have many difficulties and obstacles in producing movies inside Syria. I don’t work at Syrian regime control areas, I live under opposition forces control which are being exposed to bombing every day, also controlled by various opposition military forces, and you must handle with the atmospheric in a careful way. On the other hand, the lack of professional equipment as well as qualified specialist made me obliged to do most of the tasks with basic equipment, which slows down the movement of production, significantly affects the artistic and technical work.”
Q. Is there anything else you want us to know about you as a director or about your film?
A. “I’ve started working on this film with a completely different scenario, but the evolution of events during filming the stages is what led the film to appear as follows.”
Tamim Kalash was born in 1978 in Raqqa, Syria. He studied at the Department of Fine Arts at Damascus University and graduated from the Visual Communications department in 2006. He has worked in various arts areas such as sculpture, painting, theater and television, where he directed reports and programs. “Eyes in Qaah” is his first documentary film and it has screened at several festivals in multiple countries, including Turkey, Morocco and Ukraine.