Human Stories — Medicine for Humanity: Syria

By Erinn Sullivan

To be a filmmaker is to fully immerse yourself in your story and the lives of your subjects. Every person on the screen has a purpose, every location is a character, and if you’re filmmaker Matthew VanDyke, every minute is but one step in the journey of a revolution.

Too often, we’re exposed to visions of violence as a placeholder for narrative. Consuming war — as seen through mainstream media — has become a part of our everyday lives and has played a supporting role in the growing disconnect between audiences and the characters on screen. Violence has become a brand and the perpetuation of it has made it easier for people to look away from the human rights violations taking place around every corner. Very rarely are we challenged to actually interact with the citizens living in a war zone. When looking at these images, it’s as if our brains lock into self-preservation mode and the human stories become a prop in the ever-growing complexity of geopolitics.

At some point we’re going to have to stop consuming “news” and begin consuming stories to help us productively wrap our heads around a social issue. Whether it be female reproductive rights, climate change or the war in Syria, exploring human stories is what will cultivate empathy and understanding, and challenge our generation to start asking the right questions. Great filmmaking like Matthew VanDyke’s NOT ANYMORE: A STORY OF REVOLUTION is a perfect example of just that. Shot in Aleppo, Syria during yet another dark day of the revolution, VanDyke crafts a visually stunning immersion into the lives of Syrians on the ground during the conflict.

Today, we invite you to travel with SIMA into the realities of 32-year-old rebel fighter Mowya, and 24-year-old female journalist Nour as they fight for their identities, their stories and their nation.

NOT ANYMORE: A STORY OF REVOLUTION + Director’s Statement from Matthew VanDyke is available for free online at through December 31.

Erinn Sullivan is a filmmaker, designer and social activist at the Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA). Join Us in Catalyzing Impact Cinema Worldwide.

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