HBO has released a searing trailer for Syrian civil war documentary, “Cries From Syria.” The cable network acquired the documentary before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Oscar-nominated director Evgeny Afineevsky, who helmed “Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom,” provides an in-depth look into a country ravaged by the effects of Russian bombs, ISIS and the brutal Assad regime.
The film is comprised of 100 hours of footage from Syrian activists and journalists —including Kholoud Helmi, the co-founder and editor of the underground newspaper Enab Baladi. Helmi details Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s oppressive crackdown on protests and those speaking out against his regime. “We demonstrated holding roses and he calls us terrorists,” the journalist remarks after footage shows a crowd peacefully marching with flowers.
As seen in the various clips, ordinary citizens aren’t the only ones caught up in this human tragedy. The documentary features testimonials from revolution leaders, human-rights defenders, former army generals and innocent children. “Some people died of hunger,” a child says unflinchingly to the camera. “And some people slept without eating and didn’t wake up.”
While voiceover actress Cissy Jones narrated the film at its Sundance premiere, HBO brought in Helen Mirren to narrate its own version. The film also includes musician Diane Warren’s song “Prayers For This World,” which was recorded by Cher and the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir.
“Cries From Syria” premieres March 13th. The film will be available on HBO Now, HBO Go and HBO On Demand.