Oscar nominated film director Evgeny Afineevsky, while agreeing that his documentary about the Syrian civil war was like a journey to hell and back, said that he preferred to describe it in a different way. Afineevsky said that it was like a journey to the darker side of humanity.
Evgeny Afineevsky was interviewed by Fr Joe Borg about his award winning HBO documentary Cries from Syria. The interview includes scenes lifted from the documentary. Cries from Syria was released in 2017 and earned him the Best Director Award at the prestigious annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, in New York.
Afineevsky filmed all kinds of brutalities including beheadings by ISIS, though he did not show the more graphic videos he recorded. He also used footage by Syrian activists, child protestors, revolutionaries, human rights campaigners, ordinary citizens, government officials and generals who defected from Assad’s army.
The film is so strong that Afineevsky says that he prefers not to watch it again when it is screened for discussion purposes in various fora. The American director of Russian descent, said that his experience in Syria was such a harrowing that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and needed professional help.
The making of the documentary triggered in Afineevsky a serious existential crisis that endangered his losing hope in humanity. It was Pope Francis, he said, who provided him with courage and hope. Afineevsky’s current work on a documentary about Pope Francis is the subject of the third part of the interview with Fr Joe Borg during his visit to Malta.