By Gina Brazao 2/23/17

Marcel Mettelsiefen spent three years with one Syrian family to capture their journey to freedom. After putting together hundreds of hours of film, he was able to create a narrative for their story.  The film Watani: My Homeland is nominated for Documentary (Short Subject) and chronicles one mother’s journey from Aleppo to Germany in hopes to escape the Syrian Civil War.  Commander Abu Ali Slaibeh was fighting in the war when he was captured by ISIS.

Mettlesifen who produced and filmed the majority of the movie says that this film conveyed the pain felt by the family after their father went missing. “For me it was to tell the story of Hala, the mother who had to take a very difficult decision to understand that it does not make sense anymore to stay in Syria though she was ready to sacrifice even her own life and the life of her children.”

Stephen Ellis who produced and edited this film understands how serious this situation was. Ellis explains, “Because of the distinct film I think, a film that looks at the psychology of the refugee process the physocology of this change from one environment in Syria to another environment in Germany through the eyes of children and I don’t think any other film tried to do that.”

The family currently lives in Germany and Hala, the wife of  Commander Abu Ali Slaibeh is expected to attend the Oscars.


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