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Earlier this month at the FIDMarseille international film festival, the Competition Grand Prize went to a feature-length documentary called "Our Terrible Country".This Syrian-Lebanese co-production was co-directed by Mohammed Ali Atassi and Ziad Homsi, Syrian filmmakers of two generations. It follows dissident Syrian intellectual Yassin Haj Saleh as he treks from Douma, northeast of Damascus, to Raqqa, the northern town where he was born, then into exile in Turkey. Haj Saleh was forced to leave his wife in Douma.A well-known figure in these parts, Atassi has made documentaries about Syrian communist dissident Riyad al-Turk and Egyptian intellectual Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd. Founded in 2012, Bidayyat offers development funds and workshops for freshman and sophomore filmmakers from Syria.Bidayyat has a managing board comprised of prominent Lebanese and Syrian filmmakers.Several Syrian artist collectives have attracted media attention since 2012 . The filmmakers in the anonymous collective Abounaddara, for instance, shoot miniature works that evince documentary principles much like those of Bidayyat.
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