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Oscar-nominated 'Watani: My Homeland' follows Syrian family from conflict to refuge

A picture taken on on February 1, 2017 shows a displaced Syrian child, fleeing from Deir Ezzor city besieged by Islamic State (IS) group fighters, standing behind a person in a refugee camp in al-Hol, located some 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in Syrias northeastern Hassakeh province.
IS has been fighting fierce battles in Deir Ezzor city, capital of the oil-rich province of the same name which borders Iraq, which the jihadist group has been besieging since early 2015.
 / AFP / DELIL SOULEIMAN        (Photo credit should read DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on on February 1, 2017 shows a displaced Syrian child, fleeing from Deir Ezzor city besieged by Islamic State (IS) group fighters.

While most images of the Syrian conflict show seemingly generic destruction and anonymous victims, the documentary "Watani: My Homeland" follows a singular family - with four striving children - at the heart of the war.

While most images of the Syrian conflict show seemingly generic destruction and anonymous victims, the documentary "Watani: My Homeland" follows a singular family - with four striving children - at the heart of the war.

The filmmaker Marcel Mettelsiefen is a German war correspondent who started travelling to Aleppo at the beginning of the civil war, and met a resistance leader, Abu Ali, his wife Hala, and grade school children, Sara, Farah, Helen and Mohammed. After Abu Ali is reportedly captured by the self-declared Islamic State, Hala decides the family must leave their homeland in search of a new, safer life. Filmed over three years, the film chronicles the family's journey from the frontline in Aleppo, to a little town in Germany. After escaping the chaos and terror of their war-torn country, the children adapt remarkably to a new life and attempt to hold on to their past identity.

KPCC will have interviews with each of the Academy nominees in the category of Best Documentary Short Film.

"Watani: My Homeland" and all the Oscar-nominated shorts will be showing at theatres this weekend, including at Laemmle’s Royal, Playhouse 7, and Claremont 5, plus South Coast Village 3 in Santa Ana.

Guest:

Marcel Mettelsiefen, Co-Director, "Watani: My Homeland" - a short documentary nominated for an Academy Award; Mettelsiefen is a German war correspondent

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