Syrian Stories is a collaboration between the British Council, Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts and the Scottish Documentary Institute to enhance the skills and expertise of emerging Syrian filmmakers located in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey - empowering them to use their creative talents to challenge stereotypes and share the experiences and perspectives of displaced Syrians with the wider world.

About the Programme

The Syrian Stories programme is supported by the British Council’s Culture and Development programme – a body of work that supports creative responses to the social and economic needs of communities affected by conflict and crisis.

From March to July 2017, the Syrian Stories programme has given 35 young Syrian film-makers the opportunity to take part in 10-12 days of intensive training through workshops held in Beirut, Amman and Istanbul. 

This training helped these young film-makers to widen their understanding of documentary film-making and gave them a chance to work together to take their ideas and turn them into short films.   This process not only built their skills but also gave them a chance to learn from their peers and build a new network with whom they can continue to develop creative work in the future.

Each of the 12 documentaries produced during these workshop are distinct, but what they have in common is their ability to surprise and move audiences with otherwise unheard stories told in a highly accessible and creative way, illustrating the strains of exile and the resilience of the human spirit. The films provide an alternative viewpoint and act as a platform through which new and authentic Syrian voices can reach international and regional audiences.  

In the second phase of the Syrian Stories programme, the partners will continue to mentor and support these young film-makers – offering them opportunities to participate in further training and providing them with advice and support as they continue to develop their creative practice. 

To date, short films produced through the programme have screened at Sheffield Doc Fest, Edinburgh International Festival and The Arabisches Film Festival in Germany. Throughout 2017 and 2018  we’ll be sharing these films with local and international audiences through festivals and private screenings and we hope they can help challenge divisive narratives and misconceptions about Syria in the UK and internationally.

Camera filming at the Syrian Stories workshop
Young man and woman editing during the "Syrian Stories" workshop
Syrian Stories notebook
Old woman telling her story to the camera of a "Syrian Stories" participant

More Information

For more information on the Syrian Stories programme and how to screen these films please contact Stephanie Twigg – Syria Arts Manager.

External links