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Cinema for Peace at World Economic Forum and Munich Security Conference – Focus on Syria


Despite peace talks the war in Syria continues to claim lives on a daily basis.

DAVOS/MUNICH – Cinema for Peace met with some of the world’s leading policymakers on peace issues, with discussions focusing on the situation in Syria in particular: Kofi Annan reiterated to founder Bizilj how important the influence of artists can be in raising public attention and public pressure on governments to stop the killing in Syria. The head of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger expressed the same view at a private Cinema for Peace dinner on Thursday, commenting on how "shamefully" the UN Security Council has failed in this regard.

Bizilj, who has travelled with artists to the Syrian front in Aleppo on a humanitarian mission, states: "We hope Russia will follow the Olympic principles and initiate pressure with the USA on the regional powers and create a ceasefire in Syria."

On Friday, German President Joachim Gauck held a courageous speech on the moral dilemma of intervention and reminded of the United Nations Responsibility to Protect, a topic that Cinema for Peace previously discussed with him in November, emphasizing that the UN and the world can't just keep watching when people are being killed.



another important announcement, the President of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Ahmad Jarba said that the SNC will take part in the next peace negotiations starting on February 10, while asking what the international community and the UN Security Council planned to do. Jarba spoke about democracy and how the SNC has fought the radicals that have tried to benefit from the chaos in Syria. The panelists around UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had also called for an Olympic ceasefire, while Brahimi urged the world to put pressure on the Syrian parties taking part in the peace negotiations in order to achieve results. This was underlined by the fact that as the peace talks took place in Geneva, the war ravaged on in Syria, reportedly killing over 1.900 people.

Ahmad Jarba, born in the Qamishli tribe in 1969, is a former political prisoner, Syrian leader and politician. He has been the President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which is the main coalition of opposition groups of the Syrian Civil War, since July 6 2013. Jarba holds a bachelor of law degree and is discussing with Cinema for Peace what artists can do and how filmmakers can shine a light on what is happening in Syria.

During the peace talks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that "enough is enough" and that there should be a conclusion to the violence in Syria. At the Munich Security Conference he urged for the peace talks to continue as well as demanded that it was important for "both sides and the government in particular to allow the unfettered access required under international humanitarian law."

Cinema for Peace Honorary Chair and UN Special Envoy for Refugees Angelina Jolie is visiting regularly camps with refugees from Syria in order to help improve their situation. She has pleaded the world to act: "I appeal to the world leaders – please, set aside their differences, unite to end the violence, and make diplomacy succeed." Moreover, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Gutierrez commented on the scale of the suffering: "I have no doubt that the conflict in Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis since at least the Rwandan genocide."

We invite you to watch the following trailers on the conflict in Syria:

  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by Robert King is a compilation of photojournalist and videographer King’s footage into a series of raw, largely unedited vignettes that present a snapshot of the ancient city of Aleppo as it crumbles and burns while its citizens are killed indiscriminately.
  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 AGONY OF ALEPPO by Marcel Mettelsiefen is a report from the city of Aleppo in Syriaunder the grips of the civil conflict.
  • BATTLE FOR SYRIA by Jamie Doran presents a journey inside the heart of the Syrian insurgency with rebels waging a full-scale assault.
  • THE SUFFERING GRASSES by Iara Lee seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps.