DocScapes concludes the Spring 2017 season with a free screening of The Journey, a six-part documentary following the treacherous, seventeen-hundred-mile migration of a Syrian refugee who fled the perils of wartime Damascus to build a better life for his family.
More than a million people whose lives have been upended by desperation and violence in Syria have made similar journeys, but most of these treks take place in obscurity. Aboud Shalhoub was joined by the filmmaker Matthew Cassel, who documented—and participated in—the perilous migration in 2015. Cassel’s colleague Simon Safieh stayed in Damascus with Aboud’s wife, Christine, and his two children. The series captures Aboud’s long trip to the Netherlands, the family’s attempts to reunite, and the tide of nationalist sentiment sweeping across northern Europe.
Associate Professor Leila Hudson, from the School of Middle East and North African Studies at the University of Arizona, whose current research focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis, will lead a post-screening Skype discussion with the filmmaker (technology willing!).
DocScapes is a collaborative project of the UA Center for Documentary and the Hanson Film Institute, with support from the Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry. This screening is also co-sponsored by the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Matthew Cassel is an independent multimedia journalist and filmmaker based in Istanbul. He spent five years covering the Arab world with the Al Jazeera network. His 2013 award-winning film for AJE, “Identity and Exile: an American’s struggle with Zionism,” focuses on his personal journey from his hometown Chicago to the Middle East, where he has lived for the past decade. Cassel is co-editor of Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus (Penguin, 2013), a collection of essays on the 2011 uprisings by writers from across the Arab world. Cassel speaks fluent Arabic and has spent much of the past two years focusing on the plight of refugees seeking asylum in the EU.