May 2015


Beyond Spring

Thursday 21.05.2015 7:00 PM | Saal

Admission: 10 €

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Mayadin al Tahrir e.V.


Arab Film Series

Syria, the Syrian Cinema and the Alawites

The Immortal Sergeant
(D: Ziad Kalthoum, Documentary, Syria 2013, 72 min, Arabic OV with English Subtitles)


Ziad Kalthoum finished his documentary in 2012 before he left Syria for Lebanon then for Berlin. Because of his Alawite origins and his critical attitude towards the regime he is seen as a denigrator.

As his film documents also the shooting of a Ladder to Damascus by Mohamed Malas, one of the great names of Syrian cinema the discussion will tackle the situation of new and old Syrian cinema, the special position of Alawites in Syrian film establishment and in the country in general.

“I had finished my military service already when the revolution started. I was drafted again. For a whole year I was stuck as a sergeant and had to run the Bassel al-Assad cinema as a military base. With a hand camera I tried to document my daily life while the remaining technicians were telling me their stories. Some of them have lost their homes, others friends and family. At home I would watch the news about rocket attacks, get up the next day, put on my uniform and drive to the base.”

Ziad Kalthoum was born in Homs, Syria in 1981. He worked as an assistant director on several films, series and TV programs including Ladder to Damascus by Mohamed Malas (2013). In 2011, he directed his first documentary “Aydil” (“Oh, My Heart”) which was selected for the Carthage Film Festival. The Immortal Sergeant was screened at numerous festivals and was awarded a prize at the Locarno Film Festival.

Panel Discussion:

  • Salam Said (Syrian Academic and Activist)
  • Refqa Abu-Rumeileh (EUME-Fellow)

After the film screening and panel discussion, we will celebrate the opening with food, dance and disco music selected by DJ Amr Hammer.

Beyond Spring - Arab film series


In 2010, the Tunisian protest movement triggered a wave of upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa that became known as “the Arab Spring”. However, there is also a history to tell beyond “Spring”.

With its specific selection the film series offered by Mayadin al-Tahrir includes documentaries and fiction films by filmmakers from several Arab countries. It aims at exploring some major social and political issues in the region and enhance our understanding of the various dynamics with regards to class, gender and politics in general.

The screenings will be accompanied by moderated panels with academic experts from the Berlin-based research program Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.


Next Screenings

  • 28 May 2015
  • 4 June 2015
  • 11 June 2015
  • four more dates in Autumn 2015 (in planning)


Viola Shafik, PhD, is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and film scholar. She authored among others Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, AUC-Press, Cairo, 1998 and Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation, AUC-Press, 2007. She lectured at the American University in Cairo and the Zürich University and is in the selection committee of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund. She directed several documentaries, most notably Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014).

She currently teaches at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.


In cooperation with Mayadin al Tahrir e.V. and EUME (Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe).