THE PIANIST OF YARMOUK
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 children of Yarmouk, and spread a message of friendship to the outside world.
When invading fighters threatened his life, Aeham was forced to flee with his wife and children, embarking on a perilous voyage across land and sea.
This 14-minute documentary film combines animation, original music and interview, with performance and archive footage, to share 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 Amnesty International, The Guardian and International Alert and a range of grassroots organisations.
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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Producer & Director:
Co-Director & Editor:
Lead Animator & Camera:
Music Composed & Performed:
Additional Audio Mastering:
Aser El Saqqa
Mira Al Hussein
Archive Footage courtesy of:
Darayya Media Center
Eric & Philippa Kempson
Human Rights Watch
Médecins Sans Frontières
Solidarity in Practice
Yarmouk Youth Group
With thanks to:
Lisa Swarna Khanna
Luc Le Corre
And special thanks to: