On the morning of August 19 2012, Syrian photographer Issa Touma noticed young men from the Free Syrian Army lugging sandbags into his street and building a barricade under the window of his apartment. The civil war had reached the streets of Aleppo. The following nine days, Touma stayed inside with his camera, filming the situation down the street from his apartment window.

9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo captures the changing nature and dynamic of the situation outside, as T-shirt-wearing partisans gave way to the heavily armed militants of the al-Tahwid Brigade. Touma recorded the start of the uprising in Aleppo and gives an unprecedented glimpse into the conflict. The film was directed by Dutch filmmakers Floor van der Meulen and Thomas Vroege.

Now in its fifth year, the Syrian conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left half of the population displaced. Aleppo, the largest metropolis in the country and one of the oldest human settlements in the world, is at risk of disappearing. Ongoing battles between government forces, opposition rebels and radical Islamist militants have severely damaged the city’s architectural fabric and will soon destroy what remains of tis essence as a centre of intellectual activity and cross-cultural dialogue. The original number of inhabitants has shrunk from 2.7 million to an estimated 1.2 million in the Assad-controlled western zone and 200.000 in the east, as stated by UN officials.

Authors

Issa Touma is a photographer and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). His photographic work can be found in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Finding himself isolated from the international art community in his own country, Touma established the Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East, in 1992. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organisation and gallery that promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events.

In 1997, he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, which despite the horrors and uncertainties of the conflict, continues to take place every year. In 2012, shortly after the war broke out, he initiated Art Camping. This event in the form of workshops counters violence with artistic interventions. Its aim is to bring young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds together, encouraging them to express themselves through culture.

website

In 2012, Floor graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy. After graduation she worked on video art related projects and developed the short documentary Bekerrapers (The Cup Collectors) with production company KeyDocs.

In 2014 she made her international debut as a documentary filmmaker with Paradijsbestormers (Storming Paradise) in collaboration with production company KeyDocs and BNN. In 2015, together with Syrian artist Issa Touma and Dutch co-director Thomas Vroege, she made the international acclaimed short documentary 9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo. This short documentary was shown on film festivals around the world and won the European Film Award for best short 2016.

In 2016 she also made here debut as a fiction director with In Vrijheid (In Exile) which was nominated for a the Dutch Golden Calfs Best Television Drama and won Best Actress. Together again with Issa Touma and Thomas Vroege, she made a follow-up story on life in Aleppo: Greetings from Aleppo.

Today Floor works on the feature length documentary Last Male Standing and is developing her first fiction feature.

website

LinkedIn

Thomas Vroege (b. 1988, Rotterdam) is a filmmaker based in Amsterdam. Vroege graduated in audiovisual design at AKV | St. Joost in Breda with the short documentary The Son and The Stranger. This film won a WILDCARD of Dutch Film Fund and was broadcast by VPRO. His experimental debut film debut So Help Me God, a visual journey through the world of finance, was screened in the Goudenkalf- and Debut Competition at the Dutch Film Festival.

His most recent film 9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo, about the start of the Syrian uprising in the city of Aleppo, was screened at leading international festivals such as DOK Leipzig, Clermont-Ferrand and IFFR. His film plan Theater Of The Crowd was awarded with the IDFA Media Fund Documentary prize in 2015.

As an editor, Vroege worked a.o. with photographer Ad Nuis on Oil & Paradise, a multimedia installation as a road trip in which Nuis ironically examines the newly acquired wealth of the former Soviet state Azerbaijan. It was shown on Photo Festival Naarden, Dutch Photo Museum and the International Photography Biennial Beijing. His style as editor is characterized by a strong team player and ability to create.

Besides, in collaboration with Mark Jan van Tellingen, Vroege develops PARANOIA.WATCH, an index / smart watch app that attempts to measure the impact of terrorism on society. Since 2012 Vroege is an advisor to the Dutch Cultural Media Fund. In 2013 he was advisor to the documentary committee for the Dutch Film Festival.

LinkedIn

Platforms

 from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
Still from 9 days - From My Window in Aleppo
© Issa Touma
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016

Screenings

9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo can be included in the exhibition Women We Have Not Lost Yet, And Other Stories of Aleppo by Issa Touma. Contact through Paradox.

The short documentary continues its international film festival tour. With the recent seizings of parts of Aleppo and the ongoing war, this film remains an urgent and unprecedented report about the start of the Syrian conflict.

For information about festival distribution of 9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo contact Some Shorts.

Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Issa Touma Q&A and Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016
Issa Touma Q&A and Screening 9 Days at Les Rencontres d'Arles, July 2016

Film

On 19 August 2012 Issa Touma grabbed his camera when he noticed young men from the Free Syrian Army building a sandbag barricade under the window of his apartment. The civil war reached Aleppo. Over the first nine days of the conflict, Touma captured its changing nature and dynamic, as T-shirt-wearing partisans gave way to the heavily armed militants of the al-Tawhid Brigade. The film was directed and edited by Dutch filmmakers Floor van der Meulen and Thomas Vroege and co-produced by DeepFocus WebDocs and Paradox.

From 2015 until 2017, 9 Days was shown at more than 70 film festivals worldwide and awarded with international prizes.

Award

European Film Award 'Best Short Film' (2016)
British Film Institute 'Short Film Award' (2016)
Huesca Film Festival 'Best Short Documentary' (2016)
Kinodot 'Audience Prize' (2016)
Tampere Film Festival 'Special Merit for Documentary' (2016)

  • 18.09.201723.09.2017International Short Film Festival, Drama (GR)

    29.08.201703.09.2017BuSho Festival, Budapest (HU)

    04.08.201712.08.2017DokuFest, Prizren (KO)

    13.07.201723.07.2017Film Festival Jerusalem (IS)

    08.07.201716.07.2017Festival Curtas, Vila do Conde (PO)

    06.07.201709.07.2017Tabor Film Festival, Tabor (CR)

    28.05.201704.06.2017Krakow Film Festival (PO)

    11.05.201716.05.2017International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen (DE)

    27.04.201707.05.2017Short Film Festival, Brussels (BE)

    25.04.201730.04.2017Busan International Short Film Festival (KR)

    05.04.201709.04.2017Go Short, Nijmegen (NL)

    04.04.201709.04.2017Filmfest, Dresden (DE)

    03.04.201708.04.2017Festival del Cinema Europeo, Lecce (IT)

    29.03.201702.04.2017FEC Festival, Reus (ES)

    27.03.201702.04.2017Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival (RO)

    15.03.201719.03.2017Short Film Festival, Glasgow (UK)

    13.03.201719.03.2017Socially Relevant Film Festival, New York (US)

    08.03.201713.03.2017Tampere Film Festival, Tampere (FI)

    16.02.201723.02.2017Bodhisattva International Film Festival, Patna (IN)

    09.02.201725.02.2017Portland International Film Festival (US)

    25.01.201729.01.2017Minimalen Short Film Festival, Trondheim (NO)

    18.01.201722.01.2017Stuttgart Filmwinter- Festival for Expanded Media (DE)

    06.01.201715.01.2017Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, Sidney (AU)

    07.12.201611.12.2016ZubrOFFka International Short Film Festival, Białystok (PL)

    03.12.201610.12.2016International Short Film Festival Leuven (BE)

    25.11.201607.12.2016Festival on Wheels, Ankara (TR)

    18.11.201625.11.2016Zinebi International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao (ES)

    16.11.201620.11.2016Shortfilmfestival Cologne (DE)

    15.11.201620.11.2016Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, (DE)

    15.11.201620.11.2016Marda Loop Justice Film Festival, Calgary (CA)

    09.11.201620.11.2016International Film Festival Ljubljana (SI)

    05.10.201616.10.2016shnit International Shortfilmfestival, Bern (CH)

    21.09.201630.09.2016Nederlands Film Festival, Utrecht (NL)

    20.09.201625.09.2016Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, Bristol (UK)

    28.09.201602.10.2016War on Screen Film Festival, Châlons-en-Champagne & Suippes (FR)

    01.09.201612.09.2016International Film Festival, Helsinki (FI)

    29.08.201604.09.2016International Film Festival, Odense (DE)

    24.08.201602.09.2016International Short Film Fesitval, Sao Paulo (BR)

    05.08.201614.08.2016FESTCURTASBH, Belo Horizonte (BR)

    05.08.201613.08.2016DokuFest, Prizren (KO)

    04.08.201607.08.2016Wiz-Art, Lviv (UK)

    09.07.201609.07.2016Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles (FR)

    20.06.201627.06.2016Fest, Espinho (PT)

    17.06.201625.06.2016International Film Festival, Huesca (SP)

    09.06.201631.07.2016Photofestival Benaki Museum, Athens (GR)

    03.06.201611.06.2016Mediterranean Film Festival, Split (HR)

    31.05.201606.06.2016International Short Film Festival, Hamburg (DE)

    25.05.201631.05.2016Vienna Independent Shorts, Vienna (AU)

    28.04.201608.05.2016International Film Festival, Ankara (TR)

    28.04.201630.04.2016WE Film Festival, Maastricht (NL)

    21.04.201625.04.2016International Human Rights Filmfestival, Amsterdam (NL)

    20.04.201626.04.2016Ismailia International Film Festival, Ismailia (EG)

    20.04.201624.04.2016International Short Film Festival, Kyiv (UK)

    15.04.201617.04.2016Kinodot - International Minimalist Short Film Festival, St. Petersburg (RU)

    12.04.201617.04.2016Filmfest, Dresden (DE)

    06.04.201610.04.2016Go Short, Nijmegen (NL)

    05.04.201610.04.2016Middle East Now Festival, Florence (IT)

    31.03.201614.04.2016Kino Pavasaris, Vilnius (LT)

    21.03.201626.03.2016Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Bucharest (RO)

    16.03.201620.03.2016International Short Film Festival, Saguenay (CA)

    16.03.201620.03.2016Short Film Festival, Glasgow (UK)

    15.03.201615.03.2016Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam (NL)

    09.03.201613.03.2016Tampere Film Festival, Tampere (FI)

    02.03.201613.03.2016International Film Festival, Las Palmas (SP)

    05.02.201613.02.2016Short Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand (FR)

    27.01.201607.02.2016International Film Festival, Rotterdam (NL)

    03.11.201508.11.2015International Short Film Festival, Winterthur (CH)

    26.10.201501.11.2015DOK, Leipzig (DE)

    12.09.201527.09.2016Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam (NL)

  • Specification: 13’08” min, HD (1920×1080) digital movie with stereo sound, mostly Arabic spoken, subtitles in English / Dutch / Arabic

  • Issa Touma (Camera)
    Floor van der Meulen (Director and editor)
    Thomas Vroege (Director and editor)
    Tom Jansen (Sound design)
    Susan Osman (Translation)
    Andrea Vendrik (Graphics)
    Jos de Putter (Producer)

News

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In the media

  • An unprecedented glimpse into a war that has been raging for three years now.

    Jos de Putter, The Correspondent Read more »
  • Issa Touma is living in a war zone

    De Afspraak, 22-09-2015 Read more »
  • Prizes in London and New York for our short documentary 9 Days

    De Correspondent, 17-10-2016 Read more »

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