The director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Men in Aleppo speaks of ‘trauma and paranoia’ over the extreme lengths some are taking to stop him from telling the truth
On 4 March, the Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles. My film, Last Men in Aleppo, is one of the nominees for best documentary feature. It was shot during the 2015-2016 siege of Aleppo, when the Assad regime fought to seize control of the city with the help of its ally, Russia. Throughout this time, the citizens of Aleppo were cut off from food and medical supplies and Russian warplanes dropped bombs on a near-constant basis. That’s the factual background, but the film’s true subject is the people of Aleppo, particularly a small group of volunteer rescue workers with the civil defense organization known as the White Helmets. Last Men in Aleppo is a diary of war, seen through the eyes of ordinary men who race to bombing sites to save the living and retrieve the dead. It is also a story about hope and belief in human values.
Years ago, I was arrested by the Assad regime and tortured, but even then I didn’t have the same fear that I have now