The Film 

How far would you go for your family?

Dreams of Daraa, an upcoming feature documentary directed by Reilly Dowd and executive produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, poses this central question. Told through the eyes of a young mother and her three daughters, this film follows their tumultuous four-year journey—first as refugees in Jordan, then as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) inside Syria, and ultimately, as asylum-seekers in Germany. Using a unique combination of Verité footage, archival video, and watercolor animation, this up-close portrait of one Syrian family’s experience brings to life what so many people want most—a place to call home.

We are telling the story of just one family—of nearly 12 million people who have been displaced by Syria's ongoing conflict. This family’s story highlights the universal experiences that bind us together while emphasizing the urgent needs of refugees and IDPs—loss of years of education for children and intergenerational psychological trauma. 

Our hope, in telling an intimate story against the backdrop of a historic conflict, is that our film will capture audiences in a way that inspires people to think differently about the Syrian refugee crisis and spur the global community to take decisive action. For this reason, we are especially honored to have been selected for this year's Fledgling Engagement Lab, which brings together a small number of social issue documentary film teams along with experts and mentors to design and implement effective outreach and engagement strategies. As we work to complete the film, we are also in the early stages of orchestrating our social impact campaign. 

Meet the characters

I don’t know what lies ahead for us. Everything is uncertain.
— Hanadi

The role of animation

After seven years of war, many people around the world have become numb to the violence in Syria. Images of bloody children being pulled from rubble are commonplace. Feeling disempowered, many turn away from these images. Animation draws viewers in, bringing them closer to the human side of the story and allowing them to imagine reality for themselves.