a Guernica Projects film

The Pianist of Yarmouk tells the story of Aeham Ahmad: a classically-trained musician attempting to escape the war in Syria for safety in Europe.

Aeham rose to international prominence in 2014, after being filmed singing songs of peace amid the rubble of his hometown Yarmouk – a besieged Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria.

Surrounded by war, starvation and displacement, he sought to bring hope to the people of Yarmouk, and spread a message of friendship to the outside world.

When invading militants threatened his life, Aeham was forced to flee with his wife and children, embarking on a perilous voyage across land and sea.

This award-winning 13-minute documentary film blends original music, animation and interview, with performance and archive footage, to tell the story of Aeham’s remarkable journey.


Producer & Director / Vikram Ahluwalia
Co-Director & Editor / Elliot Manches
Lead Animator & Camera / Daniel Murtha

Vikram Ahluwalia (producer/director) is an activist and creative consultant, producing events and campaigns in support of human rights and humanitarian causes. He has curated major projects for organisations including Amnesty International, The Guardian and International Alert. This is his first film.

Daniel Murtha (lead animator/camera) is a freelance animator and the founder of Factual Animation Film Fuss (FAFF). He is currently writing a book about his experience volunteering in community politics during the 2016 US presidential election.

Elliot Manches (co-director/editor) is the director of Close-Up Research – a consultancy specialising in video ethnography and behavioural insights. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, occasional writer and journalist, and the co-founder of Film For Humanity.

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To keep up to date about Aeham visit:


Producer & Director:
Vikram Ahluwalia

Co-Director & Editor:
Elliot Manches

Lead Animator & Camera:
Daniel Murtha

Music Composed & Performed:
Aeham Ahmad

Map Animation:

Additional Audio Mastering:
Ruari MacLeod

Translations by:

Ali Kubba
Amel Kühne
Aser El Saqqa
Juliana Yazbeck
Mira Al Hussein
Sabrine Mohamad
Yilmaz Basha

Archive Footage courtesy of:

Aeham Ahmad
Bidna Capoeira
Darayya Media Center

Daro Daro
Eric & Philippa Kempson
Hasan Tanji
Human Rights Watch
Lance Penez
Médecins Sans Frontières
Solidarity in Practice
Yarmouk Youth Group

With thanks to:

Ahmed Darwish
Alexandra Tyan

Arts Canteen
Ehab Iwidat
Hussein Mar
Jörg Mahlert
Laurie Findley
Lisa Swarna Khanna 

Luc Le Corre
Nick Light
Robert Gravenor
Saf Suleyman
Semir Sido
Sulaiman Osman
Sushila Ahluwalia

And special thanks to:
Aeham Ahmad

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