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Escaping by the sea – Short Synopsis:


In 2013 in the midst of the Syrian Civil War, a nine-year-old boy, Mahmoud Ashram, lives in an apartment with his mother, father, younger brother and infant sister, in war-torn Aleppo, Syria. One day, The Regular Syrian Military arrests Mahmoud's father and forces Mahmoud and his family to leave their home. Mahmoud’s mother and his siblings take refuge at an abandoned school nearby.


Bombs strike the area and his best friend Ali is suddenly killed in front of him. During this time, Mahmoud’s father escapes from jail, finds his family and demands that they flee to Egypt. As they drive away from Aleppo for the last time, Mahmoud is changed forever after seeing his best friend Rama covered in blood on the street.


In Egypt, Mahmoud and his father find work in bakery. Longing to fit in, Mahmoud escapes the apartment to play soccer with kids in the street he disguises himself as an Egyptian boy. Once discovered, he is beaten.

In June 2013, the revolution occurs against the Muslim brotherhood regime and it becomes difficult for Syrians in Egypt. A Syrian worker at the bakery tells Mahmoud’s father that he is going to escape on an illegal boat to Italy. Mahmoud overhears this and is inspired by the potential for a better life. He wants to go, but Mahmoud’s father refuses. 


As the boat makes its way into the Mediterranean Sea, it is spotted by the Egyptian coastguard, and gunfire breaks out.  With all the chaos, Mahmoud is pushed into the water. He can’t swim and is struggling to survive. He is rescued by one of the coastguards and is sent to jail.  


When the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) learns about Mahmoud’s situation, they send a representative to release Mahmoud. The United Nations gives Mahmoud and his family a chance to have refuge in Sweden. Mahmoud and his family are still living in Sweden to this day.




Fady Jeanbart

Writer and Director

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Olivia Jamgotchian

Producer and Consultant

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Hassan Moghanam


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Shorouk El Attar



Nina Najjar


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Henrik Nordentoft

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees


Caroline Bach

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees


Sherine Greiss

World Intellectual Property Organization