Zaatari: Memories of the Labyrinth

Understand how more than 80,000 refugees are rebuilding their lives and overcoming the traumas of war in Zaatari, the largest refugee camp in the Syrian war.

In 2016, shortly after finishing his cycle with the United Nations, Ricardo started, as a volunteer*, a collaboration with Ana Cláudia Streva (NOS) in a challenging project. The idea was to develop the argument for a film documentary about Zaatari, the largest refugee camp of the Syrian war. In just four years, the camp size, that is located in the desert of Mafraq, become equivalent to that of a large city in Jordan.

Zaatari portrays a political scenario of extreme violence, as millions of men, women and children are fleeing in a time that can last a lifetime.

"The film proposes a reflection on exile and freedom in the contemporary world from an intangible raw material. After all, how to film the images from memory? How can we speak of freedom when we are deprived of it?"
Paschoal Samora

The worst migration crisis in the history of mankind

Between 2011 and 2018, the civil war in Syria has killed more than 500 thousand people and exiled 5 million. It is the worst migration crisis in human history since World War II. The documentary focuses on the human side and seeks to understand how more than 80,000 refugees are rebuilding their lives and overcoming the traumas of war.

Ricardo and Paschoal Samora

For director Paschoal Samora: "The film proposes a reflection on exile and freedom in the contemporary world from an intangible raw material. After all, how to film the images from memory? How can we speak of freedom when we are deprived of it?" He added: "Despite the incalculable losses of the diaspora that forced them to inhabit a refugee camp in the desert, limited by fences, trenches and armored vehicles that ensure the 'stability' of the gigantic camp, I found people of extraordinary light reinventing themselves every day and courageously oppose the trauma of war. They awaken in me the feeling of a silent resistance that is established in their legitimate struggle for territoriality."

Credits and Disclaimer

The production is headed by Brazilian producers GRIFA FILMES and NÓS, in partnership with Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduction from Germany and Globo Filmes, Globo News, and Canal Brasil from Brazil. The film was released in theaters in Brazil and Europe in April 2018 (Festival Tudo é Verdade).

*Disclaimer: Ricardo Vargas developed this work as a volunteer and he is not a partner, owner or business associate of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduction, Grifa Files or Nós. No financial compensation was received for the work, including revenue for tickets at movie theatres, distribution royalties or sponsorships. Ricardo also does not work anymore with humanitarian relief or refugee camps.

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