Part of the Fall 2017 Film Series: Displacement: Refugee Stories
Location: Cesar E. Chavez Building, Room 111 (1110 James E. Rogers Way, Tucson, AZ 85719)
From the Hollywood Reporter:
The statistics concerning Zaatari, the Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, are startling. Built in 2012, a year after Syria broke out in violent revolution, it is now the largest camp in the world for the country's refugees. It has some 80,000 residents, more than half of whom are children. Five thousand babies have been born there since it opened. It even has its own Twitter feed.
But those are just facts. Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching's documentary After Spring — executive produced by Jon Stewart and receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival — puts a very human face on the refugee crisis … or, to be more accurate, many human faces.
Snippets from home movies provide an illustration of Syria before the war, with scenes of people shopping, dancing, sunning themselves on the beach and visiting the "Happy Land" amusement park. The images represent a stark contract to the current lives of Zaatari's residents, with several of them nostalgically recalling happier times for the camera.
But life goes on, as it always does. The camp is in effect a functioning city — indeed, by population it would rank as the fourth largest city in Jordan—and it bustles with activity, including restaurants and retail shops.
The film focuses on several of the camp's residents, including Abu Ibrahim, a former construction worker, and his two teenage children, Raghad, age 13, and Ibahim, age 14, who must somehow find a way to live normal teenage lives in their artificial environment. Then there's Mohammed, who deeply misses his native country; he and his wife Amani have five young children, two of them born in the camp, with a sixth on the way.
With no end in sight to the violence in the region, the residents of Zaatari are forced to contemplate an indefinite future living in tents and struggling to achieve a semblance of normalcy. After Spring shines a vital spotlight on their travails.
Steph Ching, Ellen Martinez
Country of Origin
2016/ 101 min