Sky and Ground
Directed by Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett
Humanity on the Move, 2017. 86 minutes
Various community groups have engaged in online political and social activism to bring their messages to a broader international audience since the outset of the civil war in Syria--"the most socially mediated" conflict in history (Lynch et al., 2014). Citizens, journalists, artists, and activists have taken tremendous risks to document civilian deaths that have occurred during the Syrian conflict, yet only a select portion of those efforts have found a wide audience (Lynch et al., 2014). Among the underrepresented narratives of ethnic minorities affected by the war, the film Sky and Ground (initial release, 2017) offers a compelling account of the perilous experiences of a Kurdish Syrian family, bombed out of their home in Aleppo, seeking to migrate to Berlin to join family members already settled there. Financed by four American filmmakers and directed by Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett, Sky and Ground has garnered awards and nominations at international film festivals.
Fleeing from the Assad regime and Islamic militants, the Nabis clan planned their risky journey by sea and land in search of a measure of peace and a new beginning. The movie opens with a series of short videos documenting atrocities committed in Aleppo in 2012. The videos were produced by one member of the family, the favourite uncle, dubbed Guevara, for his admiration for the Argentinian Marxist. Like thousands of other Syrian refugees, the family began its journey by travelling 571 miles, much of it across Turkey, to embark from Izmir on...