An Evening with Ossama Mohammed
We were pleased to have Ossama Mohammed with us on Thursday 13th July as part of Celebrating Syria Festival 2017 discussing 'my films, my freedom, my humanity: independent cinema under dictatorship'. In this informal conversation, Ossama Mohammed told his story of independent film-making in Syria under the oppression of the Assad regime and explored the role of cinema as a form of resistance. The event took place at Friends’ meeting house (Upper Hall) and witnessed great participation.
Born in the coastal city of Lattakia, Syria in 1954 and in exile in Paris since 2011, Ossama Mohammed graduated from the Moscow State High School of Cinema (VGIK) in 1979 and remains one of the most significant film directors in Syria. Ossama’s auteur style of filmmaking defies conventional genre distinctions and ranges from trenchant, dark satirical commentaries of regime rule to quasi-documentaries. His 1988 feature film, Nujum al-Nahar (Stars in Broad Daylight) is considered a masterpiece of Syrian cinema and was banned in ‘Assad Syria.’ It is perhaps the most politically critical film ever produced in Syria.
In 2015, Ossama won a Prince Claus Award which recognised that he: “has played a central role in Syria’s film and film production scene for several decades. Through diverse, innovative methods, from dramatic satire to reflections from exile and street recordings, he creates unflinching, profound and poetic insights into the Syrian context.”