A TALE OF SURVIVAL AND WONDER
After losing their home during the Syrian Civil War, 12-year-old Leila and her mother Samar start a new life in the United States. As they struggle with Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiment, Leila begins to experience visions of otherworldly entities from Syrian folklore. Unsure of her sanity but fearful of deportation, Leila embarks on a journey to discover the secret of these beings and the hidden world they inhabit. In the tradition of Pan’s Labyrinth and When a Monster Calls, this is a bittersweet story of survival and wonder.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Hidden Ones is a story that stretches across multiple mediums to create a transmedia narrative. The project began modestly enough as a short film which is now touring the festival circuit (see the trailer). This proof of concept was always intended to be a first step into a larger world. Over the last year and half we've been crafting both a feature length adaptation and an interactive augmented reality experience. It's our hope to allow an audience to experience this unique story in different ways.
I spent the first few years of my life living in the Middle East, the child of an American man and a woman of Syrian-Palestinian descent. Stories have always been a big part of my life and I was frequently exposed to two varieties in those early days. The first were folk lore from the region; fantastical tales often involving invisible entities who could fell entire armies or lead thirsty travelers to oases in the dry desert. The other type of story I heard was more grim; first hand accounts from my Mother and extended family detailing their experience during multiple wars, often fleeing their homes and finding themselves forced to start over and rebuild their lives. Both varieties of story were "real" to me, though I must confess I preferred the tales of magic to those of hardship.
The world has seen a lot of hardship in the last few years. In a time when the current refugee crisis has displaced people across numerous countries and continents, we seem to be growing more distrustful of the "outsiders" we should be eager to help in their time of need. As I watch the rise of Islamophobia and nativism in the United States and around the world, the situation feels increasingly grim. It's in times like this when a little bit of magic can remind us that there is still hope out there, even if it's hard to see.
- David Amir Beier
The Hidden Ones short film has been named an Official Selection of the 2020 Taos Shortz Film Festival.
Color correction completed on The Hidden Ones short.
Sound design and score completed on The Hidden Ones short.