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Refugees Star in Saba Mubarak's New Film


Last Monday, Jordanian star Saba Mubarak took part in a celebration held by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Zamalek Cinema. At the event that was attended by many celebrities and media personalities, Mubarak delivered a speech talking about the refugee crisis in the Arab world. In her speech, Mubarak talked about the humane situations she experienced while shooting her new film The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul, which she stars in and produces, and she suggested a number of solutions to end the crisis.

Saba said that the image of the Syrian child Aylan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on a beach in Turkey two years ago, was a turning point for her that changed how she views refugees. "The image that has touched me and hundreds of millions of others motivated me to show support for refugees." She said.

"That's why when I started making my film The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul, the first decision was that we won't get any actors and the refugees are going to star in their own stories. After we filmed over 250 hours with the refugees, I became more certain that no matter how perfect the screenplay was or how talented the actors were, we still wouldn't have been able to reflect that horrible reality." Saba added.

Saba continued, "This crisis is not the refugees' crisis alone, not their countries' that have been through harsh conditions, and not the host countries', but the whole world is in the middle of this crisis, and it's our responsibility to cooperate to ensure their basic human rights."

Mubarak concluded her speech by thanking the UN, the UNHCR and everyone who contributed in making this celebration happen. "I have to thank all the refugees who have worked with us in the film and all refugees all over the world for their daily fight for life. I hope that their stories inspire more artists and that we all seek to provide support for refugees." says Saba.

Most recently, Mubarak was selected as a member of the jury for the Feature Film competition (long and short films) at the 7th edition of the Malm├ Arab Film Festival (MAFF).

The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul follows the journey of Lena and Meryem during their escape from the war in Syria. Lena is a ten-year-old girl who has lost her family in the war. She finds herself forced to make her way to Turkey with her baby sister and their neighbor Meryem, along with the other refugees. Lena wants to return home, while Meryem's hope is reach Europe.

Written and directed by Turkish director Anda├ž Haznederoğlu, The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul stars Saba Mubarak and child Rawan Skeif, alongside a number of real Syrian refugees who are acting for the first time.

The Guest: Aleppo-Istanbul is a co-production between the Turkish companies; Anda├ž Film Productions, Istanbul Digital (ID) and Istanbul Film Production (IFP); and the Jordanian company Pan East Media. The film project has received financial support from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. MAD Solutions is handling the film's marketing and distribution in the Arab world.

The World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, to commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. The celebration of this day started in 2000, when the UN noted that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have the World Refugee Day coincide with the Africa Refugee Day on June 20.