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Emergency Screening in Cannes on Syria

CANNES – On the occasion of the 66th Cannes Film Festival, Cinema for Peace Foundation organized in cooperation with VICE Magazine a special emergency screening of the short film GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by documentary filmmaker Robert King. The screening highlighted the continued suffering of civilians in Syria and with the support of artists called for the end to the killings of innocent men, women and children.

The Syrian conflict is entering its third year. In this time, over 80 000 Syrians have been killed, as well as over 28 000 have gone missing. 1.2 million Syrians are displaced within their country and over 1.5 million Syrians are now refugees in neighboring countries. Syrian filmmakers and international filmmakers, such as Robert King, have documented an unprecedented tragedy and risked their lives in doing so.

In Robert King’s short film series, GROUND ZERO: SYRIA, we see the blatant targeting of children hospitals by the al-Assad regime, among a number of other serious human rights violations and war crimes. World leaders have united in condemning the massacre of the Syrian people, envisioning a peaceful future for the Syrian people. The film community must join them to act now in preventing further destruction and death.

Forest Whitaker, actor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, stated to Cinema for Peace, ”Syria deserves our undivided attention as communities and children there are constantly facing conflicts, violence and death. No one should tolerate the loss of children and civilians in armed conflicts.“

President Barack Obama supports this urgency by stating, ”We have seen evidence of the use of chemical weapons inside Syria […] Those chemical weapons inside of Syria also threaten our security over the long term as well as [that of] our allies and friends and neighbors.“ British Prime Minister David Cameron echoes Obama’s sentiments, and reinforces the need for immediate action, stating “Syria’s history is being written in the blood of its citizens and it’s happening on our watch.”

Cinema for Peace Foundation has additionally provided information on the humanitarian crisis in Syria to the film community in Cannes including such socially-conscious artists as Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio. Actor James Franco has expressed his support for the film and the humanitarian work of director Robert King in Syria.

Filmmaker Robert King commented after the film, "The priority for the international community should be to finally set up a humanitarian corridor, so that people could flee the country safely if they wish and the refugee situation could be brought under control." He also stated, "Syria is only a 16 hours' drive from Europe, so it is also in European geopolitical interests that the conflict be resolved, or else the chemical weapons that Assad possesses might end up used in terrorist attacks on European soil."

Robert King is a photographer and videographer from Tennessee. He has documented almost every major conflict since the Bosnian War in the early 90’s. He has covered conflicts in Chechnya, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, and Haiti, risking his life in order to inform the public, facing death threats, near-lethal combat situations and being kidnapped.

International and Syrian artists demand:

  • Emergency humanitarian aid for the Syrian people and a humanitarian corridor.
  • Introduction of a no-fly zone, bringing to an end the most advantageous weaponry the al-Assad regime has utilized against the Syrian people.
  • The referral of Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court.
  • In efforts for an immediate halt to the killing of children and innocent civilians, and for Syria’s transition into a democratic government, United Nations Peacekeeping Forces must be used for stability.
  • China and Russia must endorse and advocate United Nations declarations and standards, by joining the international community’s efforts in ending the conflict.  Firstly, by supporting instead of blocking votes in the Security Council and secondly, by halting arms trade to Syria.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on the topic of Syria and its civil conflict:

  • 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.
  • DEATH VISITED ME. YET ON THE SHELF, THERE WAS NO COFFEE by Omar al-Khani is a movie created to show the world experiences the filmmaker had in Damascus suburbs in the summer of 2012. He wanted the world to see what Syrians are being forced to live through every day for the last two years.
  • BATTLE FOR SYRIA by Jamie Doran presents a journey inside the heart of the Syrian insurgency with rebels waging a full-scale assault.
  • MORNING FEARS, NIGHT CHANTS by Roula Ladqani and Salma Aldairy is a film about a young Syrian woman doesn't share her parents' beliefs, but she's still been locked up inside their belief system all her life. Because she is a young woman, her parents almost never allow her to leave the house, let alone participate in activities against the Syrian regime. But she rebels anyway.
  • 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.



"Ground Zero: Syria" by Robert King


"Morning Fears, Night Chants" by Roula Ladqani and Salma Aldairy


"Death Visited Me, But there Was No Coffee On The Shelf" by Omar al-Khani



"The Suffering Grasses" by Iara Lee


"Battle for Syria" by Jamie Doran