The Toronto International Film Festival has expressed concern over the arrest of Syrian filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia, who was detained by security services loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Damascus airport on August 23, where he was due to fly to Cairo. He was taken to a detention center and has not been seen or heard from since then.
In its press release, TIFF writes:
“Nyrabia belongs to the emerging generation of Syrian filmmakers passionate about world cinema and passionate about freedom. We are extremely concerned by his arrest — filmmakers must be allowed to express themselves through their films, without fear of reprisal.”
Nyrabia is the director of “Dox Box,” an international documentary festival that is set in Damascus. He received the European Documentary Network award, along with his wife, director Diana el-Jeiroudi, for their contributions to the field of documentary film. Nyrabia and el-Jeiroudi’s Proaction Film is the only independent doc company in Syria.
As the New Yorker noted following Nyrabia’s arrest, another Syrian filmmaker, Bassel Chehade, was shot dead in the city of Homs in May.