'City of Ghosts' director Matthew Heineman documents Syria's citizen journalists who dare to defy ISIS
Heineman and one of City of Ghosts' protagonists talk about the fate of Raqqa and whether Syria is being 'slaughtered silently'
ISIS has consciously built a mythology around itself -- an exercise in branding -- as part of its efforts to impose a radical vision of Islam on the Muslim world. Nowhere has that self-mythologizing initiative been more evident than in Raqqa, the Syrian town ISIS uses as a base of operations.
ISIS would like the rest of the world to believe its rule over Raqqa has ushered in an era of prosperity, good governance and strict adherence to a grim version of Islam. Only the latter part of that sentence is true, but the reality of life under ISIS in Raqqa would remain concealed were it not for the courageous efforts of citizens journalists who have risked their lives to disseminate video and information to the outside world about the true conditions in the city.
Those journalists are the heroes of Matthew Heineman's latest documentary, City of Ghosts, which opens in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC on Friday, expanding to more cities in the coming weeks. It's currently in theaters in New York.
Heineman and other of the main subjects of his film, Aziz al-Hamza, spoke with Nonfictionfilm.com editor Matthew Carey in Los Angeles last month, shortly before the film's theatrical release.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.