Films provide an archive of the time

A large part of what the Showroom offers is a place to explore and discuss film with others, whether that be audience members, experts, specialists, or those behind or in front of the camera.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 7:00 am
Noura Safadi features in the film Ayouni

Watch-along screenings and Q&As are now commonplace across social media and streaming platforms.

Initiative’s such as Film Feels Connected from Film Hub Midlands has helped independent cinemas, film distributors, festivals, and film programmers to keep conversations going across.

As part of this initiative, Reclaim the Frame, a project led by the team at Birds’ Eye View, who champion the female perspective in film, streamed a conversation between twofilmmakers whose work focuses on Syrian stories – Waad Al-Kateab (For Sama) and Yasmin Fedda (Queens of Syria, A Tale of Two Syrians) – for World Humanitarian Day.

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The Showroom, Paternoster Row, Sheffield city centre

The discussion centred on Fedda’s latest feature-length documentary film, Ayouni.

It took six years to make and follows Noura and Machi as they search for their loved ones, Bassel Safadi and Paolo Dall’Oglio, who are among Syria’s 100,000-plus who have forcibly ‘disappeared’.

As part of the discussion, Waad shared her experience of the responsibility she carries as a Syrian filmmaker.

For her, the situation of living in a near-constant conflict has left her and other Syrians with nothing, robbed of their present and, at times, their hope for the future.

What remains is memories and stories of others, which film has the power to preserve and share with the world to help bring justice to the people of Syria.

When mainstream news outlets choose to focus on counting how many people cross the channel in dinghies, instead of exposing the horrific situations people are desperately trying to escape from, films like Ayouni are powerful records of events that shape our world and might otherwise go undocumented.

While they often depict harrowing experiences, they are a vital archive that give a voice to those who have been silenced.

To watch the conversation, visit Birds’ Eye View’s YouTube page. Yasmin Fedda’s Ayouni is available to rent online at