"Jannah" is my pre-thesis 15' short film at NYU's Grad Film Program. More than a film, a protest and I do need your help to make it happen.
Matias Maumus
New York, New York
United States
1 Team Member


Jannah (جنّة / Paradise) is the story of MAJD (24) and RAMI (9), two Arab American brothers raised in Queens (New York) by a Syrian mother, Noor (40). Everything will change for them when Majd, a recently graduated journalist, decides to leave to Aleppo (Syria) to show the world what's been going on there since 2011 doing what he does best: taking photographs. His will to show the world the violence that's been going on in Syria will force him to leave his loved ones behind. This decision will put his relationship with his younger brother, Rami, at stake.

Brotherhood, love, social media, forgiveness, fate and war will show us sometimes worth fighting for change. For us.

This film is not about any side, judgement or politics. It's about the only thing that really matters: the daily suffering of thousands of human beings since the conflict started in 2011.



After staring at fifteen monitors during two years and a half, while working as a television news channel director  in Argentina, watching that every half an hour, on our news titles, everything seemed to change but there was this one title that never changed: "the number of dead people in Syria". It just never disappeared. It only increased weekly, right in front of my eyes. That gave me the feeling that nobody was really doing anything about it. That the world kept going...despite that.

Syria has always been part of my life since my great-grandfather, Jamil, was born there, moving to Argentina because of him and his family being persecuted for being Christians during the early 1910's. My grandfather, Carlos, still feels delighted anytime he gets the opportunity to tell me amazing stories about his Syrian father and how beautiful but afflicted Syria has been as a country throughout the years.


Every crew member involved in this project will work at no cost, and all the actors will defer their salaries. Without their generosity, this film would be impossible to make. New York University also gives us a full package of light and grip equipment, which is great, but we still need more resources to make the film happen. Filmmaking is very expensive nowadays but it is also one of the most beautiful representations of life.

This is why we would love to get your help. We're hoping to raise $12,000 USD in 45 days through this Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign.

With the money we raise we will try to cover:

  • Transportation Expenses
  • Meals & Craft services for the cast and the crew
  • Location Fees
  • Equipment Rentals
  • Props & Costumes
  • Insurance & Permits
  • Traveling Fees
  • Distribution

It'd be fantastic to reach our funding goal, but if we don't, we will still move on and try to make the best film we can, with the resources we have. This amazing group of people and a beautiful premise, making the world think about Syria for a while, will definitely keep us moving towards our clear goal.

I'm aware that this is not the best time to contribute financially to any project. If you can't fund the film,please don't! There are many ways you can help us make it happen: share the video, the photographs or this website on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogs or any other social media platforms. Talk about the project with your friends and closest circles or just take 5 seconds to think about what's been going on in Syria. Help us spread the word.

You can also donate and help Syrian refugee camps, taking care of women and children, on any of the following websites, amongst others:

Remember: for every $50 USD you contribute in helping us make this film happen, we will be donating $3 USD to any of this websites listed above. We will contact you regarding the proper, on-time delivery of the perks as soon as we have a full list of all the amazing contributors once the campaign is over.


Jannah is my pre-thesis project at New York University. We will be shooting for a week from November 18th to November 25th in Brooklyn and Queens using the Sony F5 Cinealta digital camera. We'll face the challenge of shooting scenes that are taking place in Syria here in New York, due to the difficulties of actually shooting in that country nowadays. There is also, still a chance that we might fly to Turkey and shoot some scenes in the actual refugee camps on the border between Syria-Turkey, if time and budget allows us to do so.

All this work and effort of a really amazing group of people will turn into a 15 minute short film that I will send to screenings, festivals and places throughout the entire globe. I just want people to take a small amount of time to remember that human beings are not disposable.


I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1988. Graduated in Image and Sound Design while working for more than two years as a director in C5N , one of the most prestigious television news channels. Always passionate for art, film and storytelling, facing this world of reality really left an important imprint on me as a human being.  Filmmaking is one of the most amazing and powerful tools in changing someone's way of seeing their own life and the world. This is why I always felt the need to tell stories that are engaging to what's going on around us.

In 2012, I applied and got into New York University's Graduate Film Program and moved to New York City, where I'm currently attending the 2nd year of the Master in Fine Arts. This being the most important project I'll be working on for the whole year.  Fascinated to attend the same film program some inspiring, well-known film directors attended throughout the last sixty years such as: Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Joel Coen, Jim Jarmusch, Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) or Juan J. Campanella, (Oscar-winning Argentine director), amongst other talented filmmakers.

Here are two of the short films I've written and directed during 1st year at NYU:


Jannah has succeeded in putting together a diverse crew of young and enthusiastic filmmakers; some of them are New York University Graduate Film students from all over the world. Others, are film related students and professionals from other beautiful countries. All of us fully engaged in the story we're about to tell. 

  • Lúcia Reis - CINEMATOGRAPHER (Brazil) (NYU)
  • Martín Blaquier - PRODUCER (Argentina) (NYU)
  • Rezwan Shahriar Sumit - PRODUCER (Bangladesh) (NYU)
  • Brittany M. Fennell - PRODUCTION DESIGNER (United States) (NYU)
  • Ashish Ravinran - GAFFER (Singapore) (NYU)
  • Alik Barsoumian - ASSISTANT CAMERA (United States) (NYU)
  • Cenk Erturk - SCRIPT SUPERVISOR (Turkey) (NYU)
  • Tomas Maumus - SOUND (Argentina) (FUC)
  • Joseph Street - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (United States) (NYU)
  • Safa Srour - ADVISOR (Syria / Russia) (HOFSTRA)

As for the cast, we are currently going through the process of casting our roles. We will cast Arab American actors and non-actors living in New York and willing to bring a lot of their talent, but most importantly their passion into this project. It will be a very detailed and delicate process, since half of the film will be spoken in Arabic, therefore we need to make sure everything is as real as it can be.  We will surely be keeping you updated on how this process evolves by posting photographs of the official cast during the next weeks.


Top to Right: Laith Nakli / Ali Sayed / Nai Hariri / Rasha Zamamiri / Adham Murched / Hend Ayoub / Hassan Sayed / Hussein Wehbi.

Our talented, beautiful cast is ready to roll. So are we...hope you're ready too!


So happy to announce that the talented writer / actor Laith Nakli has joined our team as one of our Producers. He'll also be playing one of the main roles of the film. His experience in film and theater plus being a Syrian native makes him the perfect addition to our team. Definitely an honor to have him on board!


Rezwan Shahriar Sumit was born in Bangladesh and is currently pursuing an MFA in film directing/producing as an NYU Tisch Scholar. He is also a Berlinale Talent selected back in 2008 by the Berlin International Film Festival. Previous short films include Moon Fairy, Trick-or-treat, Robots R Human, Ciry Life and Forever Young. Almost all his films have been showcased in different European festivals. He has a BBA in Marketing from IBA, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Before coming to New York, he worked with Western Union for a couple of years as a Marketing Executive. He recently founded mypixelstory with an aim to promote indie/grassroots art of Bangladesh globally.

Martín Blaquier was born in Argentina and is currently pursuing an MFA/MBA Dual Degree in film production as an NYU Tisch/Stern scholar.  After finishing his Business Admininistration Major at Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, he went on to work for Claxson, a Media company based in Argentina, until 2012. Even though he started as a producer, he quickly moved into sales and created and headed the "Sales & Acquisitions" department for Content Distribution. Later he also worked in several territories both in Latin America and Iberia as a Regional Manager for Affiliate Sales. He was also in charge of New Business Developments, which included Mobile Content Distribution, Smart TV development and Distribution, and the first attempts of co-production agreements with companies such as Shine-Reveille, NBC Universal and GRB TV, which put Claxson as an important co-production developer. At present day he is developing his career in the film industry on both the creative and business side, dividing his days between being at TSOA, Stern and on set.


Infobae.com is one of the most important news sites in Argentina and Latin America. We're so glad that the word is being spread out. Proud of being part of this!


This would mean the world to us and hopefully Jannah will mean something to the world. Feel free to join us and be part of it!

Muchísimas gracias Thank you very much – Shokran شكرا


Find This Campaign On
raised by 72 people in 1 month
110% funded
No time left
$12,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
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This campaign ended on November 16, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $25USD
    Absolutely Grateful شكرا

    This means so much to us, that's why you'll get a "special thanks" credit in the film and a link to watch it online before the release so we can discuss it before it sees the light!

    10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $50USD
    Surprisingly Thankful شكرا

    You keep surprising us and that's why you'll get all of the above plus a "special thanks" credit in the IMDb and a link to download the film in Full HD so you can also feel the pride.

    10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $100USD
    Forever Beholden شكرا

    You just made our day! We will forever owe you for this incredible help. That's why we would like to offer all of the above plus mailing you with all the art work for the film: poster and DVD cover postcards. Old fashioned way!

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $250USD
    Delightfully Shocked شكرا

    You made us so happy you shocked us! So we think it's fair that you get all of the above plus a Special Edition DVD and a complete set of digital behind the scenes exclusive photographs.

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $500USD
    Highly Bewildered شكرا

    You know how to make us feel happy, proud, in shock and stunned all at the same time. You just own all of the above plus an "Associate Producer" credit on the IMDb.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Speechless... شكرا

    Shokran...there is just no possible way we will ever be able to thank you for this! But we promise to make you feel proud of our film for sure. Please accept all of the above plus an "Executive Producer" credit on the IMDb and an exclusively designed t-shirt.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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