A documentary that follows the efforts of a handful of anonymous citizen journalists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. This is the story of this brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today....
The film tells the story of "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" (RBSS), a group of activists who take great risks in documenting and releasing video, photos, and written testimony of Islamic State atrocities in their home city. RBSS have been lauded by journalism organisations over the world. It's clear from the first shot in the back of the head we witness that their cause is one of great personal sacrifice. While RBSS might be well known now, the impact on them as individuals isn't. This is as much a documentary about activists struggling to hold themselves together as it is about ISIS terror....
But the film is about more than simply personal loss and director Heineman's admiration of journalist activists. It's a guide to the media war being fought between Isis's video team and RBSS, an arms race that escalates to the extent that ISIS order the destruction of Raqqa's satellite dishes to attempt to starve covert sources' ability to share news from the city. Those who avoid ISIS's videos might be surprised at the high production values of their recruitment clips, deliberately made to look like big-budget Hollywood productions and video games. RBSS' calm accounts of how vulnerable young Muslim men across the world are seduced by these tactics are important and chilling....
Those who oppose the presence of Syrian refugees in our cities would do well to watch this film and understand a little better. It's no exaggeration to say that when the histories of 21st-century Syria and citizen journalism are written, this documentary will be a key part of them.
- Charlie Phillips, The Guardian, who gave this documentary film 5 stars out of 5
Genre: Documentary, War
Duration: 1 hr 32 min
World Premiere: 21 July 2017 (UK)
Director: Matthew Heineman
Language: Arabic and English with English subtitles and Thai subtitles
In partnership with: Thailand Documentary Club
Cost: Free for FCCT members, 150 baht for FCCT non-members, optional buffet: 250 baht
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