"God Is The Greatest", a short film set in Syria, 2012, portrays the lives of ordinary people living on the periphery of the Syrian Civil War.
Based on true events, the film tells the story of Rami, a 17-year-old boy, who witnesses an innocent woman getting shot in a sniper alley. Without knowing the woman or knowing whether or not she is still alive, Rami decides to rescue her. Growing up in a world surrounded by gun fights, bombings and death, he makes the decision to risk his own life to make a change in the world.
We were inspired to write this script after watching hours of news footage and videos uploaded to the internet by Syrians. We decided to take some of the scenes in the footage, turn them into a film, and explore the personal and emotional dimensions behind the shocking images. By transforming real, captured moments into a cinematic narrative, we hope to draw attention to the victims of the on-going war. We want to show that there is not only hatred and violence but also hope and humanity in the Syrian world.
We would highly appreciate your support for our project!
Together as a community, we can create what might be the first short film about this subject and engage audiences around the globe.
Why the title "God Is The Greatest"?
"God is the Greatest" (Allahu Akbar) is an Arabic expression used by Muslims in times of both celebration and extreme distress.
In media reports, the expression is if often portrayed in a negative and politicized context. We want to take this phrase out of this politicized context and convey its true religious and emotional meanings instead.
Is this a political or religious film?
No. Although politics and religion do, of course, play a central role in the Syrian conflict, none of the filmmakers are affiliated with any of these political organizations or religious groups. We will strive to remain unbiased and neutral observers.
Why Berlin as shooting location?
Originally we intended to shoot the film in Beirut, Lebanon. That way we could have been as close to Syria as possible without going directly into the war zone. Unfortunately, the development in the Middle East has become unpredictable during the past few weeks and producing the film in Lebanon seems impossible for us right now.
Despite already having a crew and actors in Beirut, we decided to move the production to Berlin in order to be able to guarantee a good film without putting anyone at risk.
Berlin is a relatively cheap city to produce in and accomodates a large Arab community. We were lucky enough to find a compound on the outskirts of Berlin that, remarkably, resembles a street corner in Aleppo. With your support, we will be able to recreate the look and feel of Syria through additional set design and props.
Although we will no longer shoot in the Middle East, we will try to keep as much of the cultural specificity alive as possible. We will cast mainly Syrian actors and will bring some of our Lebanese crew members to Germany in order to be as authentic as possible.
The language on set will be English and Arabic. The film's dialogue will be entirely in Arabic with a Syrian accent.
Who we are
Kai Gero Lenke - Director & Co-Writer
Kai Gero Lenke was born in Bremen, Germany. He began his career as assistant director for the Theater Bremen. At the same time he discovered his passion for writing. As a playwright he received numerous international scholarships and awards. He studied Creative Writing at the renowned German Literature Institute in Leipzig and the Swiss Literature Institute in Bern. His short stories have been published in several literary magazines. As a filmmaker he produced and directed films in Australia, Germany and the US. His short film "The Amateurs" recently premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival in New York. He currently lives in New York City, where he is pursuing a MFA in Directing & Screenwriting at Columbia University.
Cyril Aris - Producer & Co-Writer
Born in Beirut, Cyril Aris is a Lebanese director, writer, actor and producer. In 2009 he released the short film "Beirut, I Love You (I Love You Not)", which went on to win international awards at film festivals in Europe, North America and the Arab world. The short film was then turned into a 2-season 50-episode TV/web-series, produced and broadcast on Lebanon’s major TV channel LBC gathering a regular 250,000-viewership on TV. Till this day the show is used by language professors to teach Arabic in the Western world. In 2011 he won the Lebanese 48 Hour Film Competition with the short film "Anoesis", representing Lebanon in the international competition. In 2012 he was chosen by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to write and direct two short films to be produced by the NFB, thus representing Lebanon among 12 other countries. In collaboration with Yahoo he partnered up with Emmy-award-winning Batoota Films to co-write and direct "Fasateen", a web-series following the lives of 3 Lebanese women, gathering over 2 million views. Cyril Aris is a candidate for the MFA Directing & Screenwriting at Columbia University and lives in New York.
Mounia Akl - Co-Producer
Mounia Akl is a Lebanese writer, actress and director. She currently lives in New York City where she is also pursuing her MFA in Directing at Columbia University.
As a long term creative partner of Cyril Aris she was also responsible for the success of "Beirut, I Love You (I Love You Not)", "Anoesis" and "Fasateen".
Matthias Weidenhöfer - Executive Producer
Matthias Weidenhöfer was born in Achim, Germany. A professional actor ("Die Unsichtbare", "Tatort", "Mantrailer"), he also works as a film producer and is co-owner of the production company BEAUTY KILLED THE BEAST. He was both the lead actor and producer of the feature film "Männer zeigen Filme & Frauen ihre Brüste" which will premiere at this year's Zürich Film Festival in Switzerland.
Markus Englmair - Director of Photography
Markus Englmair is a candidate for the MFA in Directing at Columbia University in New York. Born in Austria, he began shooting and directing his own short films at a young age. He received his Master's in "MultiMediaArt" from the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg. As a Cinematographer, he has worked with several formats and was responsible for the photography of films such as "The Amateurs", which have been screened at international short film festivals.
Why we need your help
International short film productions like "God Is The Greatest" are unfortunately very cost intensive.
We need funds for:
- good camera and sound equipment
- set design that turns an abandoned compound in Germany into a Syrian city
- color grading
- proper sound mix
- festival submission fees
Of course we're offering some interesting perks in exchange for your support!
Are $ 5000 really enough to produce this film?
If we reach our goal on indiegogo, we will only have the minimum of what we need to finish "God Is The Greatest".
If we can raise even more we will have more time, better equipment and therefore a better film.
So please don't stop donating! Every dollar counts!
Other ways you can help us
Please tell others about our project. Spread the word, like our page and help us to find a big audience.
You can also share and like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GodIsTheGreatestFilm
Thank you for your trust and tremendous support!