Four years ago this month, Newsweek Middle East editor Janine di Giovanni, Nicole Tung, Patrick Wells, and Matthew VanDyke went to Aleppo to document the Syrian Revolution. The goal -- to show the West what civilians are enduring, to incite action toward a resolution, and combat xenophobia by showing what so many are fleeing from to simply continue living.
The result was the film 7 Days in Syria that I directed and produced with Scott Rosenfelt (Home Alone, Smoke Signals, Teen Wolf).
Angelina Jolie said of the film:
7 Days in Syria gives a window into the lives of families struggling to survive on the front lines of the Syria conflict. Their courage and resilience shines through in impossible circumstances.
As the conflict continues, 7 Days in Syria is more relevant than ever. The battle of Aleppo shows no signs of slowing and conditions remain grim. Food, water, and supplies have been scarce, and opposition groups have displayed a complete disregard for civilians by continuously violating international humanitarian law, shelling schools and hospitals (one of which we visit in the documentary).
To date there have been 250,000 killed in the war, 50% of the population has been displaced, and there are 4.5 million refugees. It has been called the worst refugee crisis in history, spreading resources and support thin.
Germany has led the resettlement process accepting over one million refugees. Yet, more needs to be done. More can be done.
We must ask ourselves, do we want to build our fortresses and watch as people die outside our walls? A film like 7 Days in Syria is a tool to educate. To erase the line between us and them.
7 Days in Syria has played for senior officials at UK Parliament's House of Lords and the United Nations, on television in Denmark, Sweden, and China, at over 50 film festivals worldwide, and is available internationally on iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, Vimeo, and Amazon Prime.