The Guardian, Cannes Lions, LSE and a $10,000 sponsorship by the Open Society Foundation  


Making mama famous and my proudest ACHIEVEMENT

The video below is titled “Pictures”. A video I presented at the “Beyond Tolerance: Citizenship, Diversity & Constructive Conflict” ceremony for an international campaign that we at Chainy organised with The Guardian, Cannes Lions, Open Society Foundation and the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for their Global Migration Initiative.

This campaign was inspired by my story as a Syrian refugee and by artwork that I have produced together with my mother for the Syrian migration crisis. I wanted to share her story and art with the world to bring together the divided Syrian public for the duration of the video, to captivate viewers and encourage reform for what the country has come to. We thought it a miracle that can be achieved through art. It was. 

Professor Erik Berglof is the inaugural Director of the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He showed great interest in the project and has provided full support for bringing this campaign to completion in partnership with Chainy. The campaign was launched on Chainy and this is the video that kickstarted it all. A little bit about my mother…


My mother’s works have been presented to the UN in Siracusa, we’ve received great support from different TV channels online who shared her work and most importantly, we had the divided people share a single emotion. I made sure I was in contact with opposing sides to ensure our goal is achieved. All sides demonstrated a mutual emotion. It was a success.

Our campaign with the IGA aimed at bringing together viewers with stories told through film, just like my mother’s. Entries were submitted from around the world and stories were shared not only for the Syrian migration crisis, but also for other crises which have been overlooked by mainstream media. The Open Society Foundation has sponsored this campaign for $10,000 and this was to be awarded to 5 shortlisted entries and a winner.

The campaign was a success yet it came to a rather unexpected resolution. The winner would be announced in the ceremony and finalists will only find out then. Some of the finalists made their way to the ceremony but not all were able to make it. The winner, Monzer Darwish, was a refugee in Amsterdam who’s been refused any documentation for more than 6 months. He’s sought his safety with his partner through a very dark journey which he’d documented and submitted as an entry to the campaign.

“A touching, accomplished piece of filmmaking that sits right up there with the very best documentaries and pieces of journalism that I’ve seen”. Patrick Kingsley - Foreign Affairs Journalist of the yeat at The Guardian

He’s been refused the right of free movement and was not able to attend the ceremony in London. It was a dark yet romantic resolution to a campaign that resonated a message after completion. The audience was moved by his entry, his inability to personally accept his reward, and a post-award Skype call that reflected a person so thankful for the opportunity that has brought his art forward for the world to see. With exchanged smiles between Monzer and Professor Erik and a mutual love for Metallica, the conference was brought to a cheerful resolution and an emotional note that left us all speechless. 

The Open Society Foundation is glad to award Monzer $7000 for his entry and we at Chainy and the IGA truly hoped it would help him share more stories through film. However, he’s been refused the ability to collect the prize because of a conflict imposed by the Dutch government and this case study carries on today. We hope this campaign has raised awareness to the global crisis of migration and that it’s post-completion results continue to shed light on the unjust conditions that many have to endure chasing the scent of a free life and a safe environment.