In July 2017, POV asked Last Men in Aleppo filmmaker Feras Fayyad what's happened since the cameras stopped rolling.
Has the Syrian government's regaining of control in Aleppo changed the ways the White Helmets operate?
After the Syrian government and its allies took control of Aleppo, they forced the volunteers of the White helmets to leave. Most of those volunteers were citizens of Aleppo. Some have been killed, other arrested. Many of those who left are now working in Idlib in Syria's northwest or the countryside of Aleppo where the bombing continues.
Are you still in contact with any of the White Helmets?
Last update as of July 10, 2017:
- Khaled's wife just had a child whom she named Khaled. She left Aleppo with her children. They are in a safe place now and have begun a new life.
- Mahmoud and his brother are still working as White Helmets.
- Nagieb, Khaled's close friend who witnessed his death, is not in the best health. He is understandably still affected by the recent takeover of his city and the killing of Khaled.
How has this film been received internationally?
The film won almost many audience awards, showing us the great impact the film has left on viewers. Every day I receive emails and messages from people asking me how they can help to change the situation. Many have told me the film compelled them to pursue their own creative endeavors to process everything. Some painted, others wrote poems and songs, while others wrote articles and filmed stories themselves. Above all else, many members of the audience that I have met leave with a solid feeling that they just want to do something.
In what ways have you seen or do you hope to see Last Men in Aleppo add to the conversation around the Syrian Civil War?
Hopefully this film will help bring justice to those wronged in this conflict as well as educate the public in understanding why some Syrians decided to stay. In Syria, there is a strong civil society. I hope this film opens people's eyes to the brutality of the war and the enormous amount of loss and destruction it leaves behind. At the same time, I also hope this film reveals the Syrian people's passion and their devotion to humanity.
Are you working on anything now?
I am now working on a new film that will also be about Syria،