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