After Spring the outstanding new documentary feature film from Executive Producer Jon Stewart will have its DC premiere at the AFI Docs film festival on June 23 and 24. After Spring is directed by Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez who are the recipients of a MacArthur Foundation Award.
With the Syrian conflict now in its sixth year, millions of people continue to be displaced. This is the story of what happens next. By following two refugee families in transition and aid workers fighting to keep the camp running, viewers will experience what it is like to live in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees. With no end in sight for the conflict or this refugee crisis, everyone must decide if they can rebuild their lives in a place that was never meant to be permanent.
Underscoring the timeliness of the film, the Washington, DC debut coincides with World Refugee Day which is on June 20th. The Syrian conflict has displaced over 10 million people according to the United Nations.
The film tells the moving, personal, and inspiring stories of Syrian refugees and aid workers at the largest refugee camp for Syrians, the Zaatari Refugee Camp which is home to 80,000 people and is now considered the fourth largest city in Jordan. Over half of the camp’s population is under 18 years old and over 5,000 babies have been born in the camp since it opened in July 2012.
“Our goal was to put a human face to the Syrian refugee crisis. Although many news crews have visited Zaatari we had the opportunity to spend months at the camp, uncovering stories never seen before. We believe our film can offer the unique perspective of humanitarians in the field and the Syrians themselves whose voices are so rarely heard.”
Steph Ching, Director/Producer, was Associate Producer and Additional Editor on the Emmy Nominated documentary, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Other passions include volunteer work, she participated in relief efforts during post-hurricane Katrina and made several trips to Sichuan, China to film testimonies with survivors of the 2008 earthquake. Her grandmother was a refugee in China before finally making her way to the United States.
Ellen Martinez, Director/Producer, was Associate Producer on Tested, a feature documentary about educational inequality in the NYC public school system. She was Directors Assistant and has worked in the A.D. and Production Departments for various films in NYC. Ellen has spent over 8 years in the Middle East and lived in Damascus, Syria for four years.
“I remember seeing the original footage Steph and Ellen had shot, and being so impressed with their work, and thinking we had to figure out a way to get them back into Zaatari to complete the project. They found a way to tell the story of the camp, to provide some context for the families’ stories in a beautiful, real and unobtrusive way that is particularly moving and urgent.” – Jon Stewart, Executive Producer
Public Screenings of After Spring at AFI Docs
Thursday, June 23 at 1:30 PM
at Landmark’s E Street Cinema – Washington, DC
Friday, June 24 at 4:15 PM
at AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center – Silver Spring, MD
(Source: Press materials provided by Adam Segal / The 2050 Publicity Group)