"The War Show" took home the top prize at this year's Venice Days, the Venice festival's independent strand for films with a strong personal voice.
Travelling in early September to the Toronto Film Festival, Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon's documentary from the heart of Syria's civil war is now to be showcased at Britain's leading film event.
"The War Show" is one of four Danish titles at the 60th BFI London Film Festival, kicking off on 5 October and boasting a programme of 248 films from 74 countries.
Among the documentary films on show is also Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner's "Those Who Jump," a first-person account of African migrants' struggle to reach a better life in Europe which world premiered in Berlin.
In the fiction section is Shahrbanoo Sadat's Cannes winner "Wolf and Sheep," portraying the everyday life of a group of Afghan shepherd children, and Jesper W. Nielsen's "The Day Will Come," a drama set in the '60s about two brothers and their struggle to escape the tyranny at a boys' home forgotten by time.
"An urgent witness"
"The War Show" takes its audience to the Arab Spring in Syria as seen through the eyes, and lense, of radio host Obaidah Zytoon, chronicling how euphoria turns to tragedy for Zytoon and her friends as their country spirals down into civil war.
The film drew much positive attention among the Venice and Toronto festival critics for its strong eyewitness account and its relentless focus on the human story behind the headlines. We gathered these views form the film's early reception:
"There will be many documentaries on Syria. The country's tragedies are like a million-headed Hydra, each deserving its own story, told in its own way. But the world becomes increasingly numbed, which is why a documentary like 'The War Show' is so essential, at regular intervals." Variety
"Most documentaries could only hope to include as many striking, lingering, moving moments. Of course, that 'The War Show's frames are steeped in pain, suffering and tragedy remains inescapable." Screen Daily
"(Zytoon) is also fully conscious of how the camera is not a hovering entity separate from the conflict, but is now part of the conflict, changing how people behave, how they fight and what they are prepared to do. (...) Suffice to say then that this is an urgent and necessary witness to the humanitarian tragedy of our times and which is all too often viewed only through the Eurocentric lens of the 'problem' of refugees." CineVue
"'The War Show' reminds us that there are indeed living, breathing, and loving individuals just trying their best to endure this war-torn time period in their homeland. Sometimes just trying to stay out of the way of war is blatantly impossible, and the only thing left to do is embrace those you love and hope to live another day, or take up arms knowing that death is ready to rear its ugly head at a moment's notice." Ioncinema
"The War Show" is produced by Fridthjof Film and sold through DR Sales.
Films at the BFI London Film Festival (with sections)
- The War Show / dir. Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon / DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Read interview Road Trip to Hell
Films with Danish filmmakers on board
- The Giant / dir. Johannes Nyholm
- The Untamed / dir. Amat Escalante
- Safari / dir. Ulrich Seidl
- David Lynch The Art Life / dir. Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm
- Their Finest / dir. Lone Scherfig (see festival website)
- In the Future, They Ate From the Finest Porcelain / dir. Larissa Sansour, Søren Lind (see festival website)
Find more about some of these films in Danes in Co-productions
BFI London Film Festival 5-16 October 2016