Crowdfunding since 2010
Around 2,6 million Syrians fled their country since the beginning of 2011 and more than 4 millions have been displaced within Syria. The Syrian children, who today grow up in refugee camps with a difficult perspective, are the real victims of this war. With our film project SPEAK SYRIA we want to take them away from their victim´s role and make a movie in which they are the heroes.
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Funding period
12/18/13 - 3/18/14
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Minimum amount (Start level): €
15,000 €
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What is this project all about?

The war in Syria rages on for the third year. Meanwhile, a third of the population are refugees. Half of them children.

The eleven year old Sura and her small brother Walid have to flee. A bomb destroys their house. Shabia, the cruel ghost militias of the regime kill their parents. Only Sura and Walid can escape. On their way they meet other children who also flee from a similar traumatic past. Soon a mysterious prophecy binds them together. A prophecy that takes them on a dangerous journey. But is there even a possibility of a better future for Sura and her friends?

We want to tell the story of Sura and her flee in a 40 minutes long fictional film. For that, in Februrary we will return with our team to the Turkish-Syrian border town Reyhanli and Hatay province and shoot for three weeks.

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

Our screenplay is based on the experiences of Syrian children who we met during the drama and scripwriting workshops in October and Novemeber 2013 in the Turkish border town Reyhanli. The workshops where not only organized to give the children a meaningful occupation, but also to give the children and their stories the chance to be heard. Instead of working with professional actors, the roles in the film will be played by refugee children we met in this workshops. Through this closeness to the protagonists of our film, we want to break through the media-based superficiality and tell an universal story about friendship and tolerance.

SPEAK SYRIA is not only about authentic impressions and biographies, addtionally we want to elevate and alienate the world in which our story takes place. Our film creates a post-apocalytic vision in which our heroes grow up and learn to understand themselves and the war. In our world they find shelter in their fantasy, and in it they are not only victims but adventurers on an unbelievable journey.

For viewers here in Europe, the aim of our film is to build an emotional bridge to the people we see every day in the news. A link between people who live in relative security and wealth and people who have lost everything, between Europeans and Syrians, between adults and children.

Why would you support this project?

Our film project is unique in its approach: We want to shoot a fiction film with refugees and victims of an acute conflict. In our film they are the narrators and the amateur actors. By this special approach we don't only want to provide sort of a psychological relief, but also create a movie that, because of its closeness and courage to fictionalize, can tell a lot about the war, about the relationships and about the different powers in it.

To get to know the people and learn their stories, during five weeks we provided theater- and acting workshops with a team of six people: two Arabic-English translators, one script writer, one acting tacher, one theater educationist and the film director. In this part of the preparation, together with the children we focused on an imaginative and creative perspective of their own experiences and on learning from their stories. At the same time, we used these workshops for acting activities which were on one side of course big fun for the children, but also a great chance to spot special talents who later will become our amateur actors.

The ideas that were developed in the workshops, the visions, fears and dreams become part of the screenplay, plus the phantastic writing of Anke Klaaßen, the script writer. Thus SPEAK SYRIA is not only the work of a European team, but a collaborative work between us and the Syrian refugee children and Syrian activists we meet along the way – with the objective to give them a new voice.

You can find more comprehensive information about our workshops and especially about the storyline, look and style of our film on our homepage or on our facebook-page. We are looking forward to your feedback!

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?

The Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg ( has provided the SPEAK SYRIA project with a budget of 5.000 €, that we used to pay for the 5 weeks of workshops in Reyhanli (the costs were mainly transport, translators and accomodation). Additionally to that, the Filmacademy will provide state-of-the-art camera technology and filming equipment as well as the full post-production facilities (such as a professional editing place, sound post production, music studio, insurances). Also we will get the assistance of the world-acclaimed Animation Institute ( for our visual effects, vfx-elements that you would normally see in a Hollywood-production.

We need your support for external costs during the time of filming, that is planned to take place in February. These costs consist mainly of a three week accomodation for a team of 10 people plus actors, transport and a driver, flights for the material and team, filming permissions, security, translators and fixers as well as extra equipment like heavy lights and generators that we need to rent in Turkey.

Of course we could also shoot the film with a smaller focus on professionality. But apart from making a film that can be competetive at festivals and cinemas, what we owe to the people with whom we make the film, we also want to create this moment that happens on a set, when after months of work finally lights are set, the boom is recording, the camera is rolling and the actors enter the scene. A magic moment that we want to create for our amateur actors and narrators, who not long ago fled from war.

For this we are working on a non-profit project, the whole team is volunteering – whilst a possible profit would be used to cover costs and help the refugees we work with financially.

So with a comparative small amount of money, we can realise a film that fullfills international cinema-standards, having a unique approach, a special story and visuality. You can help us to fulfill our dream and make the voices of the the Syrian refugees being heard!

Who are the people behind the project?

SPEAK SYRIA is the diploma work of the film student David Ruf at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

The Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg was founded in 1991 as a non-profit limited liability company. Today, it is one of the most renowned international film schools. The project-oriented curriculum triggers learning by doing during all the different stages of a film and television production and thus makes studying at the Film Academy a unique experience. More than 300 highly qualified experts from the film and media business instruct the students and take care of their projects.

DAVID RUF is, since 2007, a documentary film directing student at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and is responsible for the project coordination and directing of the SPEAK SYRIA Projekt. David Ruf was born 1983 in Augsburg, Germany and did his Abitur in 2003. He then went for a „social year in a foreign country“ to Kolkata, India from 2003 to 2004. Later on, he made journeys to Russia, South-America and the Near and Middle East, as well as a practica with w.hole in Berlin 2006. He worked on the documentary film „Un Pueblo“ for Amnesty International about a peace community in Colombia. At the Filmakademie he directed other documentary films, the latest „Wam Kat and the Nature of Hope“ ( as well as fiction projects and the web plattform

The team consists of: ANKE KLAAßEN (qualified script writer from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, author of the screenplay), CARL GERBER (qualified script writer from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, organiser of the workshop „Storytelling“), DAVID STEFFEN (actor and acting teacher at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, organiser of the workshop Theater), MARIA DEL MAR MARAIS (assistant theater coach and theater educationist), PEDRAM NOUTASH (cameraman, qualified at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg –, SANDIN PUCE (qualified advertisement director at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, assistant director during the shooting –, GARIP ÖZDEM (sound recordist Berlin / Istanbul, recordist during the shooting), ALEXANDRA STAUTMEISTER (producer for visual effects at the Animationinstitute of the Filmakademie, supervisor for our CGI and VFX-effects), NUNO VIEGAS (renowned portuguese painter, responsible for scenography and artworks), HERRMAN TRICK (student of film production at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, responsible for a large variety of advertisments, documentary films and fiction films, producer), JURI MORASCH (theater director and cultural manager from Berlin, production and public relations for SPEAK SYRIA).

More informations and personal motivations of the team on:


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SYRIA - A Film About Children Fleeing from the War in Syria
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