For Sama plunges us straight into the fear and horror of life under fire in the midst of the Syrian civil war, often to gut-wrenching effect. Waad is at a hospital in Aleppo and while taking shelter in the dark basement during an artillery attack doctors joke that her daughter Sama must be asking “Mum, why did you give birth to me? It’s been nothing but war since the day I was born”. This film is Waad’s explanation to her Sama why she, a journalist, and Sama’s father, Hamza, a doctor, stayed behind during the intense battle for the city in 2016 – and why they kept Sama with them when they could have left her with grandparents. It is a visceral look at how war destroys buildings, lives and families. It is also full of images of stark beauty: a yellow ambulance in a white, bombed-out landscape of ruined buildings, a group of friends singing a nursery rhyme to a baby on the front lines.The film always circles back to the effects of war on children, from making swimming pools out of shell holes, to painting a bombed out bus, to gently stroking and kissing a dead brother. For Sama is a love story and a war story, a tribute to lost friends, a documentary about the atrocities of war. But most of all it examines the costs of believing in, and committing oneself to, a cause.
An award-winning venue in the heart of Byron Bay. Lovingly called ‘Festival HQ’ the inaugural festival occurred here in January 2006 screening just 55 Australian Films and BBFF has grown steadily every year and grown its presence across the Community Centre.
The films screening here are eclectic, colourful, quirky, sometimes challenging, sometimes inspirational, but always intriguing, just like Byron’s own uniquely diverse community. Completed in late 2002, The Byron Community Centre is a world-class venue in the heart of Byron Bay. This multi-purpose facility hosts a great variety of activities including performing arts events, exhibitions, conferences, seminars, receptions and functions. It also accommodates the Bay FM Community Radio, Liberation Larder, Planet Corroboree (an Aboriginal art and craft shop) and Fundamentals (a natural health store).
The Centre plays a major community development function in the Byron shire. Over 20+ years it has established many community services, helping create over 60 jobs and bringing in over $10 million to the local community.