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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.
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.
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

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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