In order to investigate the recruitment of young European women by ISIS, journalist Amy Whittaker creates a new Facebook profile. Posing as a convert named ‘Melody Nelson’ she contacts ISIS fighter Bilel in Syria. Sitting on the sofa, her hair hidden by a hijab, she chats for hours as this charismatic British man with Pakistani roots describes his everyday life as a jihadist, cooks with her, and pays her compliments. He quickly gets to the point: while Amy is secretly recording their conversations for an investigative TV show, he urges her to fly to Syria and become his wife. Switching ever more swiftly between reality and the tapestry of lies she has constructed in her conversations with Bilel, Amy finds herself becoming dangerously enthralled by him.
Director Timur Bekmambetov’s film about Anna Erelle’s factual account of her experiences as an undercover journalist demonstrates the speed and boundlessness of the digital world which he appropriately opts to show exclusively on a computer monitor - in social media windows, search engines and editing programmes. The result is a fascinating, highly topical and intense thriller.
by Timur Bekmambetov
with Valene Kane, Shazad Latif, Christine Adams, Amir Rahimzadeh, Morgan Watkins
USA / United Kingdom / Cyprus / Russian Federation 2018 English 105’ World premiere


  • Valene Kane (Amy)
  • Shazad Latif (Bilel)
  • Christine Adams (Vick)
  • Amir Rahimzadeh (Lou)
  • Morgan Watkins (Matthew)


Director Timur Bekmambetov
Screenplay Brittany Poulton, Timur Bekmambetov, Olga Kharina based on the book ‘In the Skin of a Jihadist’ (‘Dans la peau d’une djihadiste’) by Anna Erelle
Editing Andrey Shugaev
Sound Nigel Albermaniche
Production Design Ben Smith
Costumes Varya Avdyushko
Make-Up Jody Williams
Casting John McAlary, C.S.A.
Assistant Director Bryan Goeres
Production Manager Benjamin Greenacre
Producers Timur Bekmambetov, Olga Kharina
Executive Producers Adam Sidman, Rick Sobalvarro, Maria Zatulovskaya, Igor Tsay

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Timur Bekmambetov

Born in Guryev in the USSR (now Kazakhstan) in 1961. At 19 he moved to Tashkent in present-day Uzbekistan and graduated from the Ostrovsky State Institute of Arts and Culture in theatre and cinema set design in 1987. In 1994 he directed his debut film Peshavarskij Vals about the Soviet-Afghan war. In 2004 Nochnoj Dozor (Night Watch), his first in a fantasy film series, broke Russian box office records. In 2008 he directed his first Hollywood film Wanted with Angelina Jolie, followed by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in 2012 and Ben-Hur in 2016. He also works as a producer.

Filmography (selection)

1994 Peshavarskiy Vals (Escape from Afghanistan) 2002 GAZ Russkie Mashiny 2001 The Arena (Gladiatrix) 2004 Nochnoj Dozor (Night Watch); Berlinale Special 2006 Day Watch; Berlinale Special 2007 The Irony of Fate 2 2008 Wanted 2010 Yolki (Six Degrees of Celebration) 2012 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2014 Yolki 1914 2016 Ben-Hur 2018 Profile

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018