Thomas Duch, Paul Vagianos and Christine Ordway presented Academy Award nominee Afineevsky’s moving documentary.
The world has been kept in the dark from the atrocities of Assad’s regime. His campaign to suppress popular dissent has spared no one. Elementary schools and hospitals are bombed. Students are seized and tortured; some of them to never return.
Amid the fighting, children are dying of starvation. There is little food and often no water. Families who flee are forced to pay smugglers to cross the ocean in flimsy, overcrowded boats or rafts.
Refuge children only see the ocean as a cruel, terrifying, unforgiving force. When they finally reaching land, refugees are ostracized, barely fed and left to sleep in makeshift tents on city streets.
You cannot look away; you cannot say we are not responsible for others. That is the essential message of the film. Our failure to do so drives these children and young people into the grip of ISIS.
As part of the event, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and deputy mayor Marcos Vigil delivered a proclamation to Afineevsky to honor his work. Activists and community leaders also came out to support the event.
The documentary features footage shot by Syrian activists and citizen journalists, who have followed Assad’s bloody crackdown on public protests.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians and been killed and millions more have been displaced, creating a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.
HBO acquired domestic TV rights to “Cries From Syria,” before its scheduled screening at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
“This is an unabashed, unadulterated view of war,” Sheila Nevins, president, HBO Documentary Films 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,” she adds.
“Cries From Syria” includes the original song “Prayers for this World,” written by Diane Warren, and recorded by Cher and the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir.
Afineevsky previously helmed the Emmy and Oscar-nominated documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”
Check out the trailer below. The film is currently airing on HBO.
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