Filmmakers for Tales of the Silk Road Syria

Film still from 'My Uncle Abdullah', Dir. Hamood Algneid

We hope you will join us next Wednesday 24 July at the BFI Southbank from 1pm for the latest programme in our year-long project Tales of the Silk Road. Presented by the Bagri Foundation and Shorts on Tap, it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the filmmakers screening their work. Summaries of each of the films can be found in the press release here.


Marcelle Aleid (The Truth) is a Syrian Writer and Film Director. Born in Damascus and raised between Syria and the UAE. Between 2011 – 2012, Marcelle took a role of Assistant Producer of 6 short fictions and 3 Short Documentaries. In 2012 She worked with the BBC Natural History Unit in their “Wild Arabia” series. In 2013, Marcelle was recruited By Sesame Street, in the US as the Project Manager for the launch of a new TV channel for the Arab region. In 2014 She Wrote and Directed her short film “A Letter” before moving to Canada where she join the production of two short films “Lady Luck” and “Canadian Experience” In 2016, She started a campaign to highlight the successful Syrian Refugees around the world and the campaign “My One Thing” was covered by France 24 English and French and the Lebanese TV Channel MTV. This project is now in development to be her first feature documentary.

In 2017, Marcelle completed 4 short films “The Truth”, “Status” ,”Vision” and ” A Date” and working now on her first 30 min documentary “My Voice” which talks about the trauma that the interpreters face as a result of their work and their rights in Canada.

Anthony Grippa (Aleppo) is a filmmaker, photographer, and educator based in New York. He graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History and earned his M.F.A. in Directing from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. As a photographer and filmmaker, Anthony is driven to tell authentic, human stories. Anthony previously directed the feature films, Running Funny (2009) and Half Brother (2016), both of which screened at film festivals across the country and were released on multiple digital platforms. Anthony’s latest projects, including the short film, Aleppo, shed light on people who live and work in conflict zones, and those who are affected by the aftermath of war.

Madeleine Kate McGowan (Um Firas) – In attendance for the Q&A – works in the intersection of documentary, installation and media-activism. In 2015 McGowan founded the ongoing documentary project Other Story, comprised of short films presenting personal stories of a changing world, told by the people living the change. Other Story is an a growing archive of film portraits, McGowan has traveled to Jordan, Syrian borderlands, Palestine, Standing Rock, European cities, recording human testimonials based on heart-to-heart dialogues. McGowan has a background in the academic fields of visual culture, performance design and art history, working specifically with developing the approach of a ‘radical softness’ in her work. McGowan is one of the pioneers of shaping the Northern European immersive performance artscene, and has unfolded an original art and film practice since 2009 with pieces presented at among other places, ARoS, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Trinity College Dublin, The National Museum of Denmark, The Danish House in Palestine, Moscow Shorts, Native Spirit Film Festival, Performance Philosophy Biannual Amsterdam, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Oaxaca FilmFest, FOKUS video art festival, Nivågaards Malerisamling and The Royal Danish Theatre

Xavi Segura (This Was My Home) – In attendance for the Q&A – is a Fine Arts graduate specialising in photography and video-art (University of Barcelona). He holds an MA in Filmmaking at EMAV (Escola de Mitjans Audiovisuals, Barcelona). Currently working as Filmmaker at the Branded Content production company, Lavinia Next, in Barcelona, he has directed and written the short films “Atascado” (2015), “Pegados” (2016) and has produced and co-directed “El Sueño Espacial” (2016), a short film featured in multiple festivals. Xavi is passionate about small stories and the multiple possibilities that the audiovisual medium can offer. ”Això era casa meva” (2019) is his first documentary film.

Aktham Alwani (Barbed Wire) and Hamood Algneid (My Uncle Abdullah) are media activists who filmed their films on their mobile phones as part of the Syria Mobile Film Festival from 2014-2016. Clips via mobile cameras have an important role in Arab world protest movements. Thousands of activists and journalists have filmed special video clips that bravely spread outside the country and challenged dictatorships through sound and visual. Mobile cameras have become a main tool in peaceful struggle and free expression. More information about the Syria Mobile film festival can be found here.

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