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Under the Sky of Damascus


Farah, Eliana, Inana, Souhir and Grace live in war-torn Damascus. Together, they have decided to devise a play that explores the corrosiveness of patriarchal violence – gathering anonymous testimonies from Syrian women across a variety of social groups and generations. Taking over an abandoned building, which they transform into a creative hub and safe space, the women piece together a picture of widespread misogyny and gender violence. But they face resistance and obstacles from all fronts, including from within. Directed from their exile in Berlin by Heba Khaled and Talai Derki, along with Ali Wajeeh, Under the Sky of Damascus explores the deep legacy of patriarchy that women are all too frequently forced to accept, and raises questions regarding the power dynamics within the filmmaking environment.

The Filmmakers

Talal Derki Director

Talal Derki was born in Damascus and has been based in Berlin since 2013. He studied film directing in Athens and worked as an assistant director through many feature film productions as well as producer and co-producer.

He was Oscar nominated in 2019 and became a member of the Academy. He is the winner of the German Film Awards, Lola, in 2019.

Talal Derkis short films and feature length documentaries received many awards at various festivals. Both of his films Return to Homs and Of Fathers and Sons won the Grund Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival 2014 and 2018.

Sigrid Dyekjær Producer

Sigrid Dyekjær has produced more than 30 documentary films during the last 21 years. Among her many merits, she produced the Oscar nominated film 2020 The Cave by Feras Fayyad, that she would also receive an Emmy for, as Best Producer in Non-Fiction. She won the Cinema Eye Award in 2020 after being nominated twice in 2020 for The Cave and Aquarela by Victor Kossakovsky. She has produced the Oscar-nominee Hanna Polak’s Something Better to Come. For this film, Sigrid was also nominated at the Producers Guild of America Awards 2016 for Outstanding Producer of Documentary. Sigrid is a Producers Guild of America member. She has produced in 2019 Love Child by Eva Mulvad, winner of Chicago Film Festival, sold to POV, which is running for an Academy Award 2021. I Walk by the acclaimed Danish Director Jørgen Leth (5 obstructions with Lars von Trier), School of Seduction by Alina Rudtnitskaya, Aquarela by Victor Kossakovsky, shortlisted for on Oscar in 2020, Hunting for Hedonia by Pernille Rose Grønkjær and Scandinavian Star series in 6 times 1 hour series  by director Mikala Krogh, premiered in 2020.

Of previous work, she produced Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen. Sigrid is the co-producer on Ulrich Seidl’s film, “Safari” 2017. Amongst other renowned titles, she produced “The Monastery” (Winner of the Joris Ivens Price, IDFA 2006) by Pernille Rose Grønkjær, The Newsroom – Off The Record by Mikala Krogh, Free the Mind by Phie Ambo, The Good Life and A Modern Man by Eva Mulvad. She was awarded the Ib Award, given by the Danish Directors Association to honor the best producer in the Danish film industry. Sigrid teaches at the National Film School of Denmark and at DOK Incubator, an initiative supported by Media. She also holds master class lectures at film schools around the world and courses in documentary filmmaking. In 2018 Sigrid had the honor of being accepted as a member of The Academy.

Beth Earl Producer

Beth Earl began her film career under the legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles. Beth has produced several projects for film and TV including Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball at Radio City Music Hall, and Red Nose Day on NBC. Beth executive produced The Rabbit Hunt (Sundance Film Festival) and Skip Day (Cannes Film Festival). Most recently, Beth produced Blue Code of Silence and Kings of Capitol Hill. She is a member of The Documentary Producers Alliance and graduated from Brown University with honors.

Heba Khaled Producer and Writer

Heba was born in Damascus in 1986 and studied Arabic Liter- ature at Damascus University. She worked as a radio commentator and as a freelance fixer for CNN, Al Arabiya and Reuters in Damascus and Beirut between 2011 and 2013, and worked as a writer and executive producer on these and other Arab media channels. In 2014, she started collecting footage for her first short-film People of the Wasteland. The same year, she moved to Berlin where she assisted the filmmaker Talal Derki in the direction of his film Of Fathers and Sons, which won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Grand Jury Prize in 2018 and was Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary Feature in 2019.

Her short film People of the Wasteland received more than 15 awards.

Festivals & Awards

Berlin International Film Festival


Nominee - Berlinale Documentary Award

Nominee - Panorama Audience Award

Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival


Winner - International Competition Golden Alexander

Sheffield Doc/Fest


Official Selection


Hard-hitting…essential. A rich tapestry of moments both large and small. [An] impressive achievement.”

-Screen Daily

An absolute gut punch. It’s a film that opens your eyes and rips out your heart concerning the treatment of women in the world.”

-Unseen Films

[Offers] stark insight into the reality faced by Syrian women.”