The Story Won't Die

David Henry Gerson, USA 2021, 83’
European premiere
The Sanctity of Space Users

A young rapper imprisoned for several months for a song criticizing Bashar al-Assad, a choreographer tortured by the secret police, a graphic artist whose brother gets conscripted into the army and dies while attempting to desert - young artists who believed change was possible in Syria and opposed the regime during the Arab Spring. Each paid a high price at home only to ultimately seek refuge outside the country. David Henry Gerson's documentary is not just about the hell engulfing Syria after a bloodily-suppressed revolution, but also a story of overcoming trauma through art. Writing songs, creating graphic installations or stage performances are expressions of rebellion, opportunities to regain freedom and sources of the artists’ own agencies. Luckily, I'm an artist, so I have space to use my own memories, says choreographer Medhat Aldaabal, who translated the experience of many months of traveling through Europe into the language of movement and dance. But in passing, Gerson's film reminds us that the millions of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, who face increasingly closed borders and barbed wire fences, will never get a similar chance for a new life. 

Jakub Demiańczuk

David Henry Gerson

David Henry Gerson is a director, screenwriter, producer, as well as a film and theater actor. He graduated from Columbia University and is a laureate of the Richard P. Rodgers Awarded granted by the American Film Institute. Gerson won the student Oscar for the film All These Voices (6th AFF, 2016), filmed with the participation of Polish actors. His short films have screened at numerous festivals, and the documentary Ultra Violet for Sixteen Minutes, about Salvador Dali's lover, has been included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 


2011 Ultra Violet for Sixteen Minutes (doc. short)

2011 American Standard (short)

2015 All These Voices (short)

2015 La Prada Vita (short)

2021 Sztuka przeżycia / The Story Won’t Die (doc.)

Cast & Crew

director David Henry Gerson
screenplay David Henry Gerson
cinematography Luise Schröder
editing Christopher Robin Bell, David Henry Gerson
cast Medhat Aldaabal, Diala Brisly, Bahila Hijazi, Omar Imam, Lynn Mayya
producer Odessa Rae
production Caesura Media, RaeFilm Studios
sales David Gerson
language Arabic, English
coloration colour
stay in touch
festival partners