Film & Television

Published on March 15th, 2019 | by Hype Editorial

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Yoni Reiss The Editor of “Aleppo”

Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a doctor. Since 2011, there have been over 450 attacks on medical facilities and over 850 medical personnel have died. This systematic targeting of hospitals and physicians has left millions of Syrians with little to no access to aid.

Editor Yoni Reiss tries to shed light on this topic in his new short movie “Aleppo”. The movie stars Laëtitia Eïdo, from the hit Netflix show “Fauda”. She portrays Hanan, a Syrian American doctor working in New York City. “Aleppo” will have its world premiere at the 2019 Bermuda International Film Festival.

“Aleppo” sheds light on an aspect of the Syrian conflict that can often be drown out by headlines of Trump withdrawing troops. The movie puts a face and a story behind one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. Hanan is a successful Syrian doctor, the kind that is rarely depicted on screen, and she is haunted by the horrors of her past. Hanan is able to leave Syria alive, but the trauma leaves a lasting impact on her mental and physical health, ultimately leaving her with a condition called prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness.

The movie stands out for it’s well-crafted editing. “Movies are ultimately a visual medium”, says Reiss, “so we really wanted the visuals to firmly root us in Hanan’s point of view. We use really tight close-ups and carefully execute some quick and jarring edits to dramatize Hanan’s face blindness. We want the audience to feel like they are piecing together a puzzle. We want them to feel what it’s like to have to work so hard for something that everyone else takes for granted.”

Hanan’s story is very much inspired by real events. Millions of Syrian refugees, including medical personnel, are caught in the middle of war that they have to flee for their own safety.

On March 7, 2019, 28 Syrian refugees launched a legal bid to investigate war crimes in Syria. These crimes include attacks on medical personnel.

Reiss is interested in telling this story because it gives a face to those who stand strong in the midst of a seemingly endless war. “The film is fiction, but the events it depicts are the kinds of things that have been happening in Syria for almost a decade. The doctors who stay despite deliberate targeting are true heroes. We hope that “Aleppo” can raise awareness to what’s happening every day.”

“Aleppo”, like several other of Reiss’ award-winning projects, is bolstered by a strong female lead. “Hanan is the type of character that is seldom given a chance to shine. She’s a successful Syrian woman with no love interest, but she makes for a worthy protagonist in an important story. I think movies like “Aleppo” are going to be made a lot more frequently in the future. Audiences have an appetite for compelling characters in unexpected places.” says Reiss.

Reiss just finished editing the short movie “The Awful Kind’, which premieres at the 2019 North Hollywood Cinefest. “Aleppo” will have its American premiere at the 2019 Annapolis Film Festival.


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