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American filmmakers pitch tent in Syrian refugee camp

Sunday, June 21, 2015 - 01:35

''Salam Neighbor'', a new documentary film, follows two young Americans as they live for one month among Syrian refugees in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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Two twenty-something Americans pitch a tent for one month in one of the world's largest refugee camps. That's the premise of a new documentary called, "Salam Neighbor". And it made its debut in Washington, DC, at the AFI Film Festival on World Refugee Day. It follows directors, Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple, as they get to know their new neighbors -- Syrian refugees -- among the 85,000 -- in Jordan's Zaatari camp. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-DIRECTOR OF "SALAM NEIGHBOR", CHRIS TEMPLE (STANDING NEXT TO CO-DIRECTOR ZACH INGRASCI), SAYING: "When we got there we were nervous, because you know, the first time this has ever been done to allow filmmakers to register inside of a refugee camp. And when we arrived though, day one, the guy in the tent next to us, Abu Khamal, invited us over and we shared tea that whole day and played cards. We lost every card game we played that first day." An estimated 3.8 million people have fled Syria since 2011, when the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began. The filmmakers say they were struck by the refugees' entrepreneurialism and drive to restart their lives. Now, having teamed up with Arab producers, they hope their film will help change perceptions of refugees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-DIRECTOR OF "SALAM NEIGHBOR", ZACH INGRASCI (STANDING NEXT TO TEMPLE), SAYING: "It's not just the U.S. that needs to resettle more refugees. It's the entire international community, and we need to come together and welcome these people instead of as a burden, you know, as our neighbors."

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American filmmakers pitch tent in Syrian refugee camp

Sunday, June 21, 2015 - 01:35