zwei Hände halten ein Foto


A photo camera is cleaned. Click. The shutter works. Bright light. A crackle and hiss in the sound. A broken "Hello?" opens a conversation between Khaled Abdulwahed, a Syrian filmmaker living in Leipzig, and his father in Aleppo. The son reconstructs his father's journey, arriving in the GDR as an exchange student in 1956. His son applies for asylum more than 60 years later as a refugee. The civil war in Syria separates their stories, the film brings them back together and continues them.


Script | Directing | Photography | Montage
Khaled Abdulwahed
Dramaturgy | Production 
Alex Gerbaulet & Philip Scheffner
Assistant Director Amel Alzakout
Production Manager | Research Ayla Güney
produced by pong film
funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen

Contact Production pong
Alex Gerbaulet
E-mail: gerbaulet(at)
Tel: +49 (0)30 61076098



  • festivals

    World Premiere: FID Marseille - International Competition 2023
    German Premiere: Duisburger Filmwoche 2023

    More Festivals 2023: 

    • Pravo Ljudski Film Festival | Sarajevo | Bosnia Herzegowina
    • Message to Man Int. Film Festival | St. Petersburg | Russia
    • Duisburger Filmwoche | Germany
    • IDFA Festival | Amsterdam | Netherlands
    • Kasseler Dokumentarfilm und Videofest | Germany
    • RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival | Canada
    • Filmmaker Festival Milano | Italy
    • true/false Film Fest Columbia | USA
    • Alchemy Film & Arts | UK
  • awards

    • Grand Prix International Competition FID Marseille 2023
    • Young Jury Award International Competition Filmmaker Festival Milano 2023
  • CV

    Khaled Abdulwahed, born 1975 in Homs, Syria, lives as an artist, photographer and filmmaker in Leipzig. Since 2011 he has realized numerous video art works as well as experimental documentaries, which have been shown worldwide at festivals as well as in art contexts, and some of which have received multiple awards. His videos BULLET (2011), TUJ (2012) and SLOT IN MEMORY (2013) have been shown a.o. at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Berlin Art Biennale and on Arte. Since 2015 he has been collaborating with the Berlin based production platform pong film. In 2016, his first feature-length film JELLYFISH about the Syrian civil war was invited to the Berlinale Forum. His current works include the short film BACKYARD (2018), the feature-length documentary film PURPLE SEA (2020) by Amel Alzakout, which Khaled co-directed, and his own second feature-length film BACKGROUND (2023).

  • fact sheet

    Length: 64 minutes
    Country: Germany 2023
    Format: 2K DCP, ProRes mov, h264 mp4 | 16:9, 24 fps, 5.1 & stereo, color & b/w
    Language: Arabic and German
    Available subtitles: English, German, French, Arabic


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