Auto Italia, London, 28 July 2016, 19:00 — 21:00
Majd Al-Hamwi, Zaher Omareen, Lois Stonock and Lawand Zaza

A special screening programme of film work developed as part of the Syria Mobile Film Festival, followed by a Q&A with festival organiser and artist Zaher Omareen led by Lois Stonock.

This first independent screening of this year’s Syria Mobile Film Festival in London follows on from the Festival’s participation in Auto Italia’s exhibition programme Hailweed. The event will include a screening of ‘4th Floor’ by Majd Al-Hamwi and Lawand Zaza, followed by a series of short films developed through the Festival’s workshops and grants programmes.

Video footage shot via mobile phone cameras have had an important role in Arab world protest movements. With thousands of activists and journalists bravely spreading clips outside the country and challenging dictatorships by sound and photo, the mobile camera has become a key tool in peaceful struggle and free expression.

Since 2014, Syria Mobile Film Festival has shown its films for local audiences inside Syria despite the hard security conditions, and has presented work internationally, taking the work of Syrian directors to more than twenty cities around the world. The festival creates a unique platform to encourage professional and amateur directors to produce new work using mobile cameras.

In addition to cinematic shows, the festival provides opportunities to train young directors through the training programme “pixel” and a number of grants and awards. Syria Mobile Film Festival aspires to be a part of global cinema scene, through cooperation with international and Arab festivals and with institutions that work with moving image. Syria Mobile Film Festival seeks to present a free and different cinematic vision, a vision that believes that the most accurate image is not necessarily the clearest one.

Zaher Omareen (b. Syria) is a researcher, writer who has published articles and short stories in the Arab and English press. He has worked on independent cultural initiatives in Syria and Europe, and co-curated exhibitions on the art of the Syrian uprising. His short story First Safety Maneuver won an award from the Danish Institute in Damascus and the Copenhagen Festival of Literature (2012). He recently co-edited Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline published by Saqi (2014).

Lois Stonock (b. 1984, UK) is a researcher, programming curator and strategist. Her work centres on thinking around the role of the institution in the community and looks for new business models and ways of working which support art, community and enquiry. She was a Clore Leadership Fellow (2013-14), a Research Consultant at the British Council (2014), and recently founded Associates, a collective of curators, academics and artists who write long-term strategies for community and culture.