DocumentaMadrid 2017

Greetings From Aleppo

Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen, Issa Touma
17' / 2017 / Netherlands, Syrian Arab Republic

Greetings From Aleppo reveals how little the news about Syria corresponds with the experiences of everyday life. Photographer Issa Touma keeps away from bold declarations; he films life, the inconsistencies and perseverance as they reveal themselves in front of his camera. War is tragic and absurd. Surviving is often highly surreal and touching in this warn-torn city.

Main Festivals & Awards

International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands - As Short As It Takes (2017)
Vilnius International Film Festival - Official Short Selection (2017)
Movies That Matter - Out of competition (2017)
Go Short. International Short Film Festival Nijmegen, the Netherlands - Out of competition (2017)
Kyiv International Short Film Festival - International Competition (2017)

Director's Biography

Floor van der Meulen (born in 1989) studied at various arts academies in Rotterdam and NYC. Consequently, she directed Paradijsbestormers, a documentary portrait of Dutch-Syrian fighters in a complex conflict, which was broadcasted by Al-Jazeera, Arabic television.

Thomas Vroege (born in 1988, Rotterdam) is a filmmaker based in Amsterdam. Vroege graduated in audiovisual design at AKV | St. Joost in Breda with the short documentary The Son and the Stranger. This film won a WILDCARD of Dutch Film Fund and was broadcast by VPRO. His experimental debut film was So Help me God, a visual journey through the world of finance, was screened in the Goudenkalf- and Debut Competition at the Dutch Film Festival. His most recent film 9 Days - From my Window in Aleppo, about the start of the Syrian uprising in the city of Aleppo, was screened at leading international festivals such as DOK Leipzig, Clermont-Ferrand and IFFR. His film plan Theater of the Crowd was awarded with the IDFA Media Fund Documentary prize in 2015.

As an editor, Vroege worked a.o. with photographer Ad Nuis on Oil & Paradise, a multimedia installation in which Nuis ironically examines the newly acquired wealth of the former Soviet state Azerbaijan.

Besides, in collaboration with Mark Jan van Tellingen, Vroege develops PARANOIA.WATCH, an index / smart watch app that attempts to measure the impact of terrorism on society. Since 2012 Vroege is an advisor to the Dutch Cultural Media Fund. In 2013 he was advisor to the documentary committee for the Dutch Film Festival.

Issa Touma is a photographer and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). His photographic work can be found in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Finding himself isolated from the international art community in his own country, Touma established the Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East, in 1992. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organisation and gallery that promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events.

In 1997, he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, which despite the horrors and uncertainties of the conflict, continues to take place every year. In 2012, shortly after the war broke out, he initiated Art Camping. This event in the form of workshops counters violence with artistic interventions. Its aim is to bring young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds together, encouraging them to express themselves through culture.

More information

Director:Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen, Issa Touma
Language: Arabic
English and spanish subtitled
Screenplay: Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Photography: Issa Touma
Edition: Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Sound: Tom Jansen
Music: Darius Timmer
Producers: Jos de Putter, Bas Vroege
International Sales:
Some Shorts
Wouter Jansen
St Annastraat 149
6524 ER Nijmegen


Tuesday 9th 19:00

Wednesday 10th 21:30


(Cineteca screenings only)
From 3pm on 27 April

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