Sean McAllister
A Syrian Love Story
Part of
A Syrian Love Story

A Syrian Love Story

Sean McAllister

76 min.
United Kingdom
Arabic, English and French
Subtitles: Catalan and Spanish

Amer met Raghda in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago. This film tells the poignant story of their family torn apart by the tyrannical Assad dictatorship.


Sean McAllister
Executive Production
Hoshang Waziri, Lizzie Francke, Nick Fraser, Kate Townsend, Axel Arnö, Mette Hoffmann Meyer
10Ft Films Production
Sean McAllister
Matt Scholes
Terence Dunn, Le Trio Joubran,Samih Choukaer, Youssef Tage, Zoë Keating, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Bo Harwood

Amer, 45, met Raghda, 40, in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago. He first saw her bloodied face after a beating when she was placed in a neighboring cell. Over months they communicated through a tiny hole they’d secretly made in the wall. They fell in love and when released got married and started a family together. This film tells the poignant story of their family torn apart by the tyrannical Assad dictatorship. Filming began in Syria in 2009, prior to wave of revolutions and changes in the Arab world – at the time, Raghda was a political prisoner and Amer was caring for their young children alone. We filmed in the thriving heart of the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus – now an infamous news story as its inhabitants are being starved to death by the Assad regime. At 4 and 14, Bob and Kaka have already spent their whole lives watching either their father or mother go to prison for their political beliefs. Quiet, considerate and mature, Kaka tells me how he is prepared to follow his mother and father to prison for the price of freedom. This intimate family portrait helps us to understand why people are literally dying for change in the Arab world. Yet, as Raghda is released from prison, filmmaker Sean McAllister himself is arrested for filming and the political pressure around all activists intensifies. The family flee to Lebanon, and then to France where they are given political asylum in the sleepy town of Albi, where they now watch the revolution from afar, waiting for Assad to fall. However, in exile, Raghda’s mental heath suffers. She recently attempted suicide. We see their new life in France develop but the war is now between them. In finding the freedom they fought so hard for, their relationship is beginning to fall apart.

About the direction
Sean McAllister

Sean McAllister


Director Sean McAllister is known for his candid, frank films, depicting with extraordinary intimacy...

Awards and festivals

DocsBarcelona – Official Selection
Spain, 2016
British Independent Film Awards – Nominated to Best Documentary Film
UK, 2015
European Film Awards – Nominated to Best Documentary Film
Europe, 2015
Sheffield Doc/Fest – Jury Award
UK, 2015
Sean McAllister
A Syrian Love Story
Watch the trailer
Related movies
Laura Poitras
Terror Contagion
Patricia Franquesa
Estimada Sara
Sergei Loznitsa
Mr Landsbergis
Alex Pritz
The Territory
Anaïs Taracena
El silencio del topo
Myanmar Film Collective
Myanmar Diaries
Camilla Nielsson
Emilie Beck
No place like home
Magnus Gertten
Nelly and Nadine