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Talal Derki
DE SY LB QA 2017    56' 98'
⚬ Human Interest 


After his Sundance award-winning documentary RETURN TO HOMS, Talal Derki returned to his homeland where he gained the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses mainly on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12) are in the center of the story. They both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. The film captures the moment when the children have to let go of their youth and are finally turned into Jihadi fighters. No matter how close the war comes—one thing they have already learned: they must not cry.




Talal Derki


Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert, Hans Robert Eisenhauer


Talal Derki

Executive Producers

Jenny Raskin, Dan Cogan, Geralyn White Dreyfous

Production Company

BASIS BERLIN Filmproduktion

Co-Production Company

Ventana Film, Cinema Group Production


Kahtan Hasson


Anne Fabini


K.S. Elias


Sebastian Tesch


Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Documentary Competition

Sundance 2018

Open Borders Fellowship Award presented by Netflix

Sundance 2018

THE GOLDEN HORN for the director of the best film

Krakow FF 2018


Krakow FF 2018

Special Jury Mention

Valletta FF 2018

Big Stamp - International Competition

ZagrebDox 2018

Movies That Matter Award

ZagrebDox 2018

The Peter Wintonick Audience Award

Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2018

Best Director

One World Prague 2018

Main Prize

20th Ljubljana Doc Film Festival 2018

The Special 10th Anniversary Prize

Millenium IDFF Brussels 2018

Special Jury Award

Full Frame Film Festival 2018

Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award

Full Frame FF 2018

Best Film Award presented by Amnesty International

The International Slovenia Documentary Film Festival 2018

Special Mention

Cinepolitica Film Festival 2018

Special Mention from the International Jury

DocumentaMadrid 2018

Best International Feature

Doc Edge Festival 2018

Grand Prize

Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival 2018

Deutscher Dokumentarfilmpreis

SWR Doku Festival 2018

Fritz Gerlich Award

Filmfest München 2018

Best Film in the section The Journey

Sole Luna Doc Film Festival 2018

Big Golden Nanook - Grand Prix for the Best Film of the Festival

IDFF Flahertiana 2018

The Best Doc Film

Batumi Int. Art House Film Festival 2018

AJB Main Award

Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival 2018

The Best Doc Film

BIAFF 2018

Silver Star

El Gouna FF 2018

Best Arab Documentary

El Gouna FF 2018

Lo Porto Prize

Terra Di Tutti FF 2018

ANHAR Award for Best Arab Film

Karama FF 2018

WATCH DOCS Award for best feature-length documentary

WATCH DOCS Human Rights in Film Festival 2018


Budapest International Documentary Festival 2018

Youth Award

Festival International des Cinémas d'Asie de Vesoul 2019

Best Documentary Film

Dublin International Film Festival 2019

Special Jury Mention

Sofia International Film Festival 2019

Best Documentary Film

German Film Awards 2019

Best Editing

German Film Awards 2019

Jury special award for the International Competition

Ânûû-rû Âboro Film Festival 2019


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IDFA 2017

Sundance 2018

CPH:DOX 2018

Zagrebdox 2018

Ambulante 2018

Visions du Reel 2018

True/False 2018

Krakow IFF 2018

Full Frame 2018

Millenium IDFF Brussels 2018

One World Prague 2018

Hot Docs 2018

DocsBarcelona 2018

DocEdge 2018

Documenta Madrid 2018

Moscow IFF 2018

Sarasota FF 2018

Sydney FF 2018

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018

Filmfest München 2018

Transilvania IFF 2018

Helsinki IFF 2018

Melbourne IFF 2018


Sarajevo FF 2018

El Gouna Film Festival 2018

Bergen IFF 2018

RIDM 2018


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Film Details

Runtimes 56' 98'
Spoken Languages Arabic
Production Countries Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria


Talal Derki was born in Damascus and is based in Berlin since 2014. He studied film directing in Athens and worked as an assistant director for many feature film productions and was a director for different Arab TV programs between 2009 and 2011. Furthermore, he worked as a freelance cameraman for CNN and Thomson & Reuters. Talal Derkis short films and feature length documentaries received many awards at a variety of festivals. His feature documentary RETURN TO HOMS has won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Grand JuryPrize in 2014. The same year, he was a member of the international Jury at IDFA.


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