Firas sails together with his Syrian countrymen towards Europe. While crossing the Mediterranean Sea a plane crashes near their boat. Among all the debris, one little girl miraculously survives. The refugees manage to bring her aboard the ship; in shock and confused. Firas is confounded by the presence of the girl. Soon his state of mind starts to work against him.
RENÉ HUWAË // DIRECTOR // DOP // CONCEPTDEVELOPER
May 2016, a plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. At that moment I wondered how bizarre it must be if refugees on a boat, sailing from Egypt to Europe, would witness a burning plane crash into the sea. Having escaped your homeland and having left many loved ones behind in search of peace and security, witnessing an event like this must be surreal.
The film starts with a realistic adaptation of the situation aboard a refugee boat. The appalling conditions and motives of the people aboard are known. After some time at sea, they witness a tragic plane crash. Miraculously, a western girl survives the disaster and is brought aboard alive. Now that it seems as if the whole world collapses around them, the refugees cannot seem to grasp what just happened and are in a state of helplessness.
By placing a western girl in a refugee's position, I want the western audience to identify more easily with refugees and at the same time I want to make clear that being a refugee is not something you choose for, but that one is rather forced by terrible events or bizarre conditions.
JAWAD MAAKOR // WRITER // DIRECTOR
Firas is a performance-driven film, with the emphasis on interpersonal conflict situations. For this film I would love to work with people who have made the same trip as the protagonist does in the story. I want to show strength from their experiences and perceptions of their journey. The film is a mix of a short semi-ensemble film and is also a character study. It is not entirely an ensemble film, because we do not really get to know the other characters in the film. As a screenwriter, this choice has been made deliberately. I like it when the rest of the characters remain anonymously: we follow them as well, though the storyline is mainly focused on Firas' state of mind. The film covers various emotional themes.
Usually, I write scenarios that are not subject to current events. Nevertheless, lately I have been overwhelmed with dubious arguments and opinions of various people from various circles regarding the immigration debate. The tone is very hard. It is a side effect of populism and the current political climate that stimulates inequality. Everyone is expected to have an opinion about complex issues: freedom of speech is obviously for everyone.
When I listen to the public debate, it seems like words such as 'to relativize' and 'to nuance' are declared dead. Even though we cannot change the world with our film, we change the established image and help people to get a better view on the refugee crisis.
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