Ongoing Arab and International Screenings of the Syrian Documentary 300 Miles
On Sunday March 19, 2017, the Lebanese capital Beirut hosted the premiere of the documentary film 300 Miles by Oroa Mokdad as part of the 9th edition of Beirut Cinema Days.
The film is one of the projects benefiting from the Laboratory of Arts Programme. In a previous statement to Ettijahat website, the filmmaker Oroa Mokdad said that the film addresses the idea of divided spaces created in Syria, which are as symbolic as they are real. They are rooted in the shattered spaces in the region following the establishment of the state of Israel, which tore the region apart in terms of its affiliation, identity and priorities.
Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland hosted the film's first international premiere under the "Signs of Life" Competition in August 2016. At the time, Oroa Mokdad was unable to travel to attend the premier due to his identity papers being held by the Lebanese General Security, which is still the case.
In October 2016, the film won the Grand Prize for Long Film at the Doclisboa Film Festival in Lisbon.
300 Miles was also featured in three other international screenings in Spain during March. This included one show on March 9, 2017 in Madrid, at the Reina Sofia Museum, in the presence of the producer Eyas Al Mokdad, and two shows on March 25 and 26, 2017 in Madrid at La Casa Encendida Cultural Center.
The film has received a wide acclaim by film critics. The critic Mohammed Musa wrote an article entitled 300 Miles of Syrian Devastation, saying, "The filmmaker, Oroa Mokdad, is well aware of his time, history, and the events that have changed the face of his country. He presents a film that combines historical documentation and the ongoing search for moments of reflection in order to comprehend the Syrian crisis among all the restless explosions and ruins of cities. This balance, although difficult to obtain, is what allowed the film to occupy a special place among all other documentary films that dealt with the Syrian revolution which used different styles and approaches. The director impels his characters, and even the viewers, to resort to silence and listen to their inner selves and explore their roles and current status, even though bullets were actually and not metaphorically pouring down while filming some scenes in the film."
"In contrast to the role he plays in the scenes of fighting on the battlefront, the director, Oroa Mokdad, is content only to observe and track the details of the lives of peaceful activists in the city. He interfered minimally and only asked few questions – leaving the camera to answer for these questions. We can safely say that he was an observer in the cellars, and an instigator on the battlefronts," writes the journalist Ayman Salman in Al Modon Newspaper as part of his dialogue with the director, after the film won at the Doclisboa Film Festival. Oroa Mokdad commented by saying, "I was not only an instigator, but a confronter as well, not only through posing questions, but also through the camera which I used to track the fate of the faltering peaceful movement represented by Adnan and his comrades. I am part of the revolution and I have many questions to ask to the revolutionary fighters. The discussion that took place between me and them represents a state of self-criticism that the revolution needs."
"In several cases, I used fixed stills in the film and in spite of the great destruction and the fierce war, we do not sense the restless noise of the place, only because we actually live in the inner worlds of the characters," said Al Mokdad in a previous interview with Ettijahat in July 2016. "I used these fixed stills to avoid generating emotions, because the premise of the film is to provide a deeper picture of what is actually happening in Syria."
To watch the film trailer please click here.
To follow-up the film's latest news, please visit the film's official page on Facebook by clicking here.
A writer and filmmaker. He studied Media at Damascus University, and has written many literary texts published in Arab and international newspapers and magazines, as well as a collection of articles and investigations on the Syrian revolution since its outbreak in 2011. Al Mokdad directed several short documentaries on the Syrian revolution and has participated in a number of Arab and international film festivals. He is a winner of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press 2014.