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Sundance 2017: HBO Acquires War Documentary ‘Cries From Syria’

Evgeny Afineevsky's documentary about the Syrian civil war will premiere at Sundance before playing on HBO in March.

Evgeny Afineevsky

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HBO has acquired the U.S. television rights to the documentary “Cries From Syria” ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22. Directed by Oscar nominee Evgeny Afineevsky, the film will screen in the Documentary Premieres section of the fest.

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“Cries From Syria” is a harrowing story about the Syrian civil war and will premiere on HBO on March 13. The events depicted in the film stem from March of 2011, when the Syrian people rose up against the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, roughly seven million have been displaced inside the country and more than five million have flees, two-thirds of which are women and children.

“Cries From Syria” draws on hundreds of hours of war footage shot by Syrian activists and citizen journalists. The film also features testimony from human rights defenders, high-ranking army generals who have defected from the government and ordinary citizens.

“Syria’s ‘lost generation’ needs to be heard, and this film provides them with a collective voice,” Afineevsky said in a statement. “The film takes the audience on a unique journey over five years, from Syria to Turkey, through Jordan, Lebanon and Europe. They will see the situation from the inside out, through the eyes of those trapped in-between – many of them children – and experience their suffering, bravery, struggle, survival and hope.”

The doc follows Afineevsky’s 2015 Emmy- and Oscar-nominated “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”

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“This is an unabashed, unadulterated view of war,” president of HBO Documentary Films Sheila Nevins said in a statement. “The brutality of man’s inhumanity to man is blatantly uncovered, exposing war as it is, not as it seems to be.”

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