Director Bio: Diana Mustafa Jamal Kada (DAMASCENE)

DIANA KADAH is a Syrian actress and filmmaker from Damascus, who now lives in Berlin. Diana won the Citation Award prize in the Aleppo theatre festival- 2006 for her role of “Reya” in the “The Great Romulus” when she was just seventeen. Later, in Germany, she was awarded the FARBENBEKENNEN-Award 2018.

Since childhood, Diana had graphic ideas for her surroundings. These ideas were always vivid inspired a sense of urgency to realize or transmit them.
Many things inspired her, especially the stories, that found their way from the prisons of the Syrian regime to the public. The fact that the Syrian Government was built upon corruption, tyranny, and the people had to pay for their political opinions with their freedom, and, sometimes, even with their lives, led her to find a medium in which she could depict this influence and express herself artistically.

Over time it became clear to Diana that she wanted to be an author and director and study cinema, but because there was no film academy in Syria, due to the government control on the media industry, the Higher Institute of Dramatic Art (Damascus) was her only option. Between 2009 and 2011 Diana studied towards a bachelor’s degree in theatre acting. Unfortunately, she never got to finish her bachelor’s program, because of war, she had to flee Syria to temporarily stay in Lebanon. There, she studied film and television at the Institute of Fine Arts, but again she had to end her studies, because of the unstable situation in Lebanon and the xenophobia she was exposed to, as a Syrian.
In 2015, she managed to immigrate to Germany, to keep pursuing her movie-making aspirations. Now she graduating from Catalyst

Diana always thought of art as an alternative resistance and uses the camera as a weapon to exploit inequalities in society.
The focus of her work is the topics of Refugees, feminism, multi-cultural societies, families, psychology, sociology, politics, and human- and LGBTQ+ rights.
In conclusion, for the past 10 years, she has been working on various productions as a filmmaker, an actress, and a theatre artist- including short and feature films, TV series, theatre plays, music videos, and commercials.

Director Statement

I was inspired to do this movie by listening to a report of a murder that occurred during the civil conflict in Damascus-Syria. This report led me to investigate the suspects and the victim.
I found contradicting information on social media: one post advocated the innocence of the suspects, claiming a drug overdose had killed the victim; while posts on the victims’ page denied the allegations.
The victim had, however, been kidnapped prior to his death, the reason for the kidnapping is unclear. Was it done for monetary or personal reasons?
Sources claim the victim lived in an area that opposed the Al-Assad regime.
The “Damascene” film highlights the effects of war on the psyche of the younger generation, and the impact of the normalization of violence, inflicted by those with political interests.

What are the reasons behind the general mistrust within Syrian society after 2011?
Citizens are accusing each other of various crimes, whether innocent or not. Subsequent arrests follow… Creating a guilty-until-proven-innocent system.

The film location is the Funkhaus building, in Berlin, as it is quite similar to a war-torn building in Damascus.

As the writer, producer, and director, the coordination of untrained actors’, and designers’ work is vital to a fresh cinematic interpretation. However, all of the choices I had made, throughout the production process, were carried out by teamwork.

Working with a varied international crew was challenging, because of the different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Regardless, everyone was really invested in a film about the Syrian war.
As I am a film production student, at Catalyst Institute For Technology And Art, I was able to acquire the equipment for two days’ shooting.

In short, the purpose of this film is to show the audience how the political situation has been a source of anxiety, dread, and hopelessness. The reason that drove generations to take drugs, as a method of escapism from the brutal reality of dealing with violence, and the destruction of friendships.

Author: chicagofilmfestival

Submit your Short Film and get it showcased at the FEEDBACK Film Festival in Chicago. 1 event in 2019. 12 events in 2020. Festival takes place at LOGAN Theatre in downtown Chicago on the 3rd Friday of every single month.

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