Under the Sky of Damascus

Everyday life in Syria is not only marked by years of war but also by internalised misogyny and violence against women both within the family and in the workplace. It is not discussed, and harassment seems to be a commonplace expression of authority. Many women are pathologised and admitted to psychiatric wards, and even extreme abuse is rarely reported. In Damascus, a collective of young female actors comes together to research the topic. They plan to use the moving anonymous statements of countless women to create a stage play that will break taboos. But Eliana, Inana, Farah, Grace and Souhir face resistance – from their families and even during discussions within the group itself. When their feminist project suddenly encounters unexpected hurdles, their enthusiasm is put to its toughest test yet.
Syrian duo Talal Derki and Heba Khaled directed their film from the distance of their Berlin exile and together with Ali Wajeeh. In the film’s voice-over commentary, Heba Khaled puts the images and the oppression of Syrian women into context and draws comparisons with her own story as well as that of the actor Sabah Al Salem.
by Heba Khaled, Talal Derki, Ali Wajeeh Denmark / Germany / USA / Syria 2023 Arabic 88’ Colour World premiere | Documentary Form


Directors Heba Khaled, Talal Derki, Ali Wajeeh
Cinematography Raed Sandeed
Editing Marion Tuor
Music Ari Jan
Sound Design Mia Joanna Koskela
Producers Sigrid Dyekjær, Talal Derki, Heba Khaled, Beth Earl
Executive Producers Jenny Raskin, Kelsey Koenig, Maiken Baird, Philippe Levasseur, Roman Bessi, Ruba El-Khash
Co-Producer Beth Earl
Co-Production Rustic Canyon Los Angeles
Sama Art Damascus

World sales

Jouzour Film

Heba Khaled

Born in Damascus, Syria, she studied Arabic literature at Damascus University. Between 2011 and 2013, she worked as a fixer for CNN and Reuters in Damascus and Beirut and was also a writer and executive producer for these and other Arab media channels. In 2014, she began working on her first short film, People of the Wasteland. In the same year, she moved to Berlin and became assistant director for Talal Derki on his documentary Of Fathers and Sons. In 2018, she completed People of the Wasteland which went on to screen at numerous festivals and won 16 international awards.


2018 People of the Wasteland; short documentary 2023 Under the Sky of Damascus; documentary, co-directors: Talal Derki, Ali Wajeeh

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023

Ali Wajeeh

Born in Latakia, Syria in 1985, he has worked for many years as a film critic for various Arab newspapers and websites and as a writer for Arab TV series, short films and theatre plays. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of Syrian and Arab film production, he has also been a drama consultant for various production companies and platforms.


2023 Under the Sky of Damascus; documentary, co-directors: Heba Khaled, Talal Derki

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023