First Annual Syria Film Festival Launches in Toronto

TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - The Syria Film Festival (SYFF) premieres November 13-15 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The lineup includes documentaries, shorts, and experimental films that tell the stories of Syrians in their own nation and as members of an international wave of refugees.

SYFF's program includes 50 Feet From Syria, an Oscar-shortlisted documentary that follows two weeks in the life of Dr. Hisham Bismar as he works in a Turkish hospital on the Syrian border, treating civilians injured in brutal battles. Dr. Bismar will join us for the screening.

Other guests include Syrian-American actor Jay Abdo (Queen of the Desert), 50 Feet From Syria director Skye Fitzgerald, and Siham. Siham is featured in Not Who We Are, which closes SYFF on Sunday night. She is a refugee herself, coming to Canada through the sponsorship of Toronto's Fairlawn United Church.

SYFF also includes a photo exhibit by Ali Mustafa, "a Toronto-based Freelance Journalist I knew well," said Festival Coordinator Maher Azem. "The photos are from his last trip to Syria in 2014, where he was killed by a barrel bomb in Aleppo with 4 Syrians Rescue Workers. This part of the festival honors a local hero who died documenting the struggles of the Syrian people."

SYFF's mission is to build solidarity, inspire conversations and engage its audience in thoughtful debates on justice, human rights, and global citizenship. A completely volunteer-run organization, SYFF supports young talents in film and arts and enriches Toronto's vibrant multicultural identity.

For more details about the festival lineup and to purchase tickets, visit
Social Media
Twitter: @syff

SOURCE Syria Film Festival

Image with caption: "Syria Film Festival (CNW Group/Syria Film Festival)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Contacts: Adam Riggio, Marketing & Communications: 647-909-1095 /; Maher Azem, Festival Coordinator: 647-501-1007 /; Aisha Jamal, Film Programming Expert: 647-460-9507 /; Available for Interviews: Jay Abdo & Sky Fitzgerald (Nov 12-15), Dr. Hisham Bismar (Nov 14)

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