NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2017 – HBO has acquired U.S. TV rights to the searing documentary CRIES FROM SYRIA, by Oscar® nominee Evgeny Afineevsky (pictured), ahead of its world premiere in the Documentary Premieres section of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22. This harrowing account of the Syrian civil war from the inside out is Afineevsky’s follow-up to the Emmy®- and Oscar®-nominated “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.” The deal was negotiated by HBO with David Dinerstein, the film’s executive producer. CRIES FROM SYRIA will debut MONDAY, MARCH 13 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO.
“This is an unabashed, unadulterated view of war,” says Sheila Nevins, president, HBO Documentary Films. “The brutality of man’s inhumanity to man is blatantly uncovered, exposing war as it is, not as it seems to be.”
Afineevsky adds, “I am so pleased that HBO has come on board with their expertise and support to bring this film to American audiences. Syria’s ‘lost generation’ needs to be heard, and this film provides them with a collective voice. The film takes the audience on a unique journey over five years, from Syria to Turkey, through Jordan, Lebanon and Europe. They will see the situation from the inside out, through the eyes of those trapped in-between – many of them children – and experience their suffering, bravery, struggle, survival and hope.”
CRIES FROM SYRIA draws on hundreds of hours of war footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protestors, revolution leaders, human rights defenders, ordinary citizens and high-ranking army generals who have defected from the government. Their collective stories are a cry for attention and help from a world that little understands their reality or agrees on what to do about it.
In March 2011, the Syrian people, inspired by events in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, rose up against the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Public protests sparked by the arrest and torture of children who had been detained after writing anti-regime graffiti led to violent crackdowns. As what would become a long civil war intensified, the Islamic State and other groups began seizing Syrian territory and imposing brutally oppressive conditions of their own.
Stranded between the opposing forces in the conflict, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, seven million have been internally displaced and more than five million have desperately tried to survive by fleeing the country. Two-thirds of those who have fled to date are women and children.
The film will include the original song “Prayers for this World,” written by Grammy and Emmy® winner and Oscar® nominee Diane Warren, and recorded by Cher along with The West Los Angeles Children’s Choir.