City of Ghosts

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USA | 2017 | 91 minutes | Matthew Heineman

More achingly relevant than ever, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) presents an eyewitness chronicle of RBSS, the group of anonymous activists risking their lives to document the ravaging of their native city of Raqqa, Syria, by ISIS.

"Timely, pressing, important"-Seattle Times staff

"What City of Ghosts does best is to humanize those who've suffered most from the conflict in Syria, educating us through both outrage and compassion."Peter Debruge, Variety

Friday, May 26, 2017

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  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

6:30 PM Date has passed SOn Standby Director Matthew Heineman scheduled to attend

Saturday, May 27, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

2:30 PM Date has passed SOn Standby Director Matthew Heineman scheduled to attend

Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, SIFF 2015) returns to SIFF with another vitally relevant, sometimes graphic film about one of the world's most dangerous conflicts. City of Ghosts chronicles the efforts of "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" (RBSS), a handful of anonymous Syrian activists who risk their lives to tell the world about their city's suffering. What begins as a group of young school friends reporting on the anti-Assad movement during the Arab Spring of 2012 takes on a new purpose when the Islamic State arrives in 2014. These citizen journalists film demonstrations in the city's Freedom Square, the public executions of demonstrators that ensued, street after street bombed to rubble, and long lines of citizens lining up for meager rations. In this way, RBSS wages a meaningful opposition to ISIS's own media campaign of intimidation and propaganda (including that aimed at children). When one member of the group is captured and executed, along with his father, the remaining guerrilla reporters begin leaving, mostly for Turkey, and later for Berlin. Heineman meets them there, documenting with remarkable insight and intimacy their ongoing operations, the courage that sustains them, and the threat that follows them wherever they go in what is arguably the defining documentary about Syria to date.

Director Biography

American director and filmmaker Matthew Heineman directed his first documentary short, "Overcoming the Storm", in 2006. He has been focusing on documentaries on a variety of subjects since then, with 2015's Cartel Land nominated at the 88th Annual Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature.

Sponsored by Amazon Studios, KING 5


Related Forum Event

Director Matthew Heineman will participate in the free Filmmaker Round Table forum on Saturday, May 27 at the SIFF Lounge.

  • Director: Matthew Heineman
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Producer: Matthew Heineman
  • Editors: Matthew Hamachek, Pax Wasserman, Matthew Heineman
  • Music: Jackson Greenberg, H. Scott Salinas
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Cartel Land (2015); Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (2013); Our Time (2009)
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Amazon Studios, A&E IndieFilms, IFC Films
  • International Sales: Dogwoof International