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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 

 

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IFFI 50: Dying 3 year-old war victim’s last words, “I’m Gonna Tell God Everything”

IFFI 50: Dying 3 year-old war victim’s last words, “I’m Gonna Tell God Everything”

One of the most important and persistent crises that we face today is the crisis of war, displaced persons and immigration. The Syrian immigrant crisis has found cinematic voice through master film-makers over the last few years, as an acknowledgement to this ongoing crisis.

The film, I’m Gonna Tell God Everything, borrows its title from the last words of a 3 year-old Syrian boy in a hospital at Damascus. The film, directed by Dev Pinn, aka Vasu Pinnamaraju, deals with true events that happened in Syria between 2011 and 2018, and how human lives are at stake in one of the bloodiest times of the middle-east. The film is to have an India Première at the 50th edition of IFFI, Panaji, Goa, November 20-28, 2019.

Award-winning film-maker based in Los Angeles with extensive Experience in Hollywood and Indian film industries, Dev Pinn achieved Best Director and Best Film at World Film Festival for I'm Gonna Tell God Everything. He is Executive Producer for international Film Silence starring Michael Madsen , Anushka Shetty and R. Madhavan .When the incident occurred in May 2015, his last pics went viral on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. By then, three million Syrians in Aleppo city had been deprived of drinking water for nine consecutive days as the rebels cut off water supplies,

In the unrest-torn country, Syrian children have been reportedly shot in the knees, held together with adults in really inhumane conditions, denied medical treatment for their injuries, either held as hostages or as sources of information. The crisis started in mid-March 2011, when anti- government protesters took to the streets, calling for reforms, but rapidly evolved into a civil war.

The Casting call, retrieved from the Internet, makes interesting reading:

Company

Renee Garcia Casting / Cinema 2.0

Renee Garcia, casting dir.; Dev Pinn, dir.-story-screenplay; Katheine King, dialogue writer; Hari Vedantam, DP

Production Description

Casting "I'm Going To Tell God Everything," a short film. Synopsis: An emotional and heart wrenching story during civil war times in Syria and of a war-stricken family. A strong-willed 5-year-old Syrian boy named Joseph, his mother Amira, his father Elias and his 8-year-old sister Stella. Joseph has two worlds, an innocent world of a child with his family and the parallel world with the heinous civil war in Syria. He doesn’t care about the civil war, but things suddenly change when his colony becomes a target for militants and a few houses are blasted with fire bombs and killing his family. Then, Joseph values are reversed to survival and to live as he is admitted with fatal burns wounds from the firebomb blasts, but the hospital has the environment of the aftermath of a violent war. During Joseph's stay at the hospital, he befriends Dr. Lisa, an American Doctor and there he learns the awareness of what is happening in Syria and the feeling of helplessness and lost without his family. On his death bed he knows all he can do is go to heaven is to tell God about everything and to create better people in the world. Production states: "Will be submitted to film festivals and in the short film category for the Oscar’s (Academy Awards.) Purpose of the film: Syria is being made into a huge open-air holocaust from the last 6 years and millions of people are killed so far and they are not even sparing women, kids or babies. The root cause is human greediness and there are 5 different groups who are doing this, and every groups says “God” is with them and powerful countries instead of saving humanity in Syria they are being a part of a power game one by one. This film is to present the problem before the world in a powerful and emotional way using audios, visuals and video mediums."

Roles

Joseph (Lead): Male, 5-8

Lead. Note: Must speak with Arabic accent. Must be excellent actor and good with facial expressions and emotions such as crying and be very fearful. Must be comfortable with having a fX-make-up done, death scene and seeing fake blood, etc. Break-out role for a child actor. Working on weekends only. He is a, doe-eyed, spirited and loving Syrian boy who is 5 years old. He cares deeply for his family, his mother Amira, his father Elias and his older sister Stella. His mother wishes she could give them more and take them away from the war-stricken environment. He is witness to his family’s death and ends up in the hospital after militant men throw a firebomb into the house and injuring him with fatal burn wounds. There at his stay in the hospital he befriends an American Doctor named Dr. Lisa, and he learns the awareness of what is happening in Syria and feeling helplessness and lost without his family. On his death bed he knows all he can do when he goes to heaven is to tell God about everything to create better people in the world.

Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Stella (Lead): Female, 6-9

Co-starring

Note: Must speak with Arabic accent. Must be excellent actor, good with facial and good with emotions such as crying and be very fearful. Must be comfortable with having a FX-make-up done, death scene and seeing fake blood, etc. Working on weekends only. She is an adorable, thoughtful and loving Syrian girl who is 8 years old and is a big sister to her brother Joseph. Her loving mother often sings her favorite nursery rhyme, “The Chicken’s Song” and she also likes to sing as it brings comfort to them during a war-stricken times. Her father Elias comes home, but with militant men with guns and hold them against their will and tragically ending their lives.

Ethnicity: All Ethnicities

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Amira (Supporting): Female, 26-36

Supporting.

Note: Must speak Arabic and speak with Arabic accent. Must be excellent actor, good with facial expressions and emotions such as crying and be very fearful. Must be comfortable with having a FX-make-up done, death scene and seeing fake blood, etc.. She is a loving Syrian mother that cares deeply for her family, her 5-year-old son Joseph, her 8-year-old daughter Stella, and her husband Elias. Amira wishes she could give them more, and take them away from such a war-stricken place, and tries to remain strong in front of her children, but it’s hard not to have tears when she is fearful for her family’s well-being. She often sings to her children a nursery rhyme, “The Chicken’s Song” as it brings comfort to them during a civil war era. Her husband Elias comes home, but with militant men with guns and hold them against their will and tragically ending their lives all, but Joseph who is left without his family.

Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Elias (Supporting): Male, 26-36

Supporting.

Note: Must speak Arabic and speak with Arabic accent. Must be excellent actor, good with facial and emotions such as crying and be very fearful. Must be comfortable with having a FX-make-up done, death scene and seeing fake blood, etc.; He is a caring Syrian father of two children, 5-year-old son Joseph, 8-year-old daughter Stella, and her wife Amira who are living in Syria during a civil war era. Elias comes home and immediately sees his daughter Stella as he enters with militant men with guns and holds his family against their will. Afraid and begging for them to not let his daughter see his life end in front of her. The militants not sparing anyone tragically throw a firebomb into the house and killing his family, but his son Joseph ends up being hospitalized for the fatal burns.

Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Dr. Lisa (Supporting): Female, 30-40

Large supporting.

Note: Must be excellent actor with good facial expressions and emotions of empathy; She is an American Doctor from Syrian American Medical Foundation and a philanthropic empathetic person on staff at the hospital that has the environment of the aftermath of the violent Syrian civil war. She is there when Joseph is admitted with fatal burns wounds from the firebomb blast, killing his mother, father and sister. During Joseph’s stay at the hospital he befriends Dr. Lisa, and there he learns the awareness of what is happening in Syria and the feeling of helplessness and lost without his family. On his death bed he knows all he can do is go to heaven is to tell God about everything and to create better people in the world.

Ethnicity: White / European Descent

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Militant Leader: 26-50

Supporting.

Note: must speak Arabic and speak with Arabic accent. Must be excellent with facial expressions and playing menacing. Gun-handling experience a big plus; He is an intimidating and menacing looking Syrian militant leader who oversees his militant squad during civil war times in Syria. They enter the house with guns on an innocent Syrian family, the mother Amira, the father Elias, their 5-year-old son, Joseph and their 8-year-old daughter, Stella against their will and they are fearful and begging for their lives and orders one of the militants to throw a firebomb into their home ending their lives.

Ethnicity: Middle Eastern

Required Media: Headshot/Photo

Militant Men (Supporting): Male, 25-50

Syrian Extras (Background / Extra): All Genders, 18-80

Hospital Staff (Background / Extra): All Genders, 20-50

Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations

Shoots Sept. 14-16 in Santa Clarita, CA (Blue Cloud Movie Ranch) and L.A.

Compensation & Union Contract Details

Pays: $50-$250/day, depending on role and Union status. Credit and meals provided.

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


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