Although the civil war in Syria has affected thousands, it sadly has received little coverage in the news. So to address this, director Sahar Golovaty has taken images of the war to a different medium: music videos.
In the music video Silent, the Tel Aviv-based filmmaker shows us the realities of war and its effects on individuals and entire families. It starts off with a well-to-do family sitting down to watch some television. The screen then shows scenes from the conflict and quickly immerses the family members as if they themselves are war victims.
Paired with a sorrowful performance by musician LINA, the music video captures the heartbreaking and depressing reality many endure in Syria today.
In an interview with Lost At E Minor, Sahar revealed why she chose to create the Silent music video.
“Millions of people are living in fear and pain. Over 500,000 innocent people have been killed in Syria. Millions of people are without medications, food or even water. Each day, more and more women are being raped, children and men get either hurt or killed for no reason.”
We talked to Sahar a bit more to learn about her and her work. Check it out:
Tell us a little about your background. How did you get into directing?
“Ever since I was five years old I knew I’ll become a director and a writer. While all the kids from primary school waited for their favorite TV show to appear, I waited for the commercials break. I loved analyzing commercials, thinking how I would do them differently, writing ideas and taking photographs.
“I also began cinema and acting studies at around the age of six. When I got a little bit older, around the age of nine, my dad taught me to edit movies on the computer. Back then computers were a ‘geeks only’ thing and kids would laugh at any kid that have loved and been good with computers.
“I edited short movies and animations, then sent them to an MTV show that aired them a few times. That made me just a little more cool in school.
“I’ve always been intrigued with acting throughout my life and I studied acting until the age of 19. My latest acting studies was in a class with the amazing Gal Gadot. We were in a small group of five selected girls at Dina Doron’s fine acting class (Dina Doron was a classic on Broadway and have acted on many TV shows and films, such as Don’t Mess With The Zohan).
“Thanks to the acting studies, I’m able to reach out to actors in a unique way and point of view. I began my way through deep observations via working in productions and casting director assistance, later on assistant director and even a private acting coach especially for auditions – until I gathered my courage to begin creating my own official directed films about six years ago.”
How would you describe your work?
“I would describe my work as very sensitive, creative, with many attention to details. I’m inspired by almost anything in this world… You can tell that each video I make maintains its own individual style, cinematic language, and visuals.
“In the past year and a half my works as a director/editor/ writer or altogether have reached over 45 million views and festivals worldwide are acknowledging my work. I was also nominated for ‘Best Director’ last month.”
What made you decide to do a music video on the current situation in Syria?
“Millions of people are living in fear and pain. Over 500,000 innocent people have been killed in Syria. Millions of people are without medications, food or even water. Each day, more and more women are being raped, children and men get either hurt or killed for no reason.
“It’s sad and shouldn’t be like this in human nature, not to the Syrians, nor Rwanda, not to anyone from any race or any country. Yes, it has happened countless of times throughout history but it shouldn’t happen at all. I’ve decided to direct this video to make people open their eyes and hearts and to hopefully make a change in the world.
“Songwriter Malki Benjamin Teperberg wrote the song Silent and had a vision of making a song that will help the Syrians. Her original idea and synopsis for a music video were about a Syrian family that fades away each in their turn, with adding footages from the past wars etc, which I found intriguing. I liked her ideas and saw the vision of the music video straight away.
“In the script process, I added much more scenes and action. I wanted to take make the viewers feel as if they were in the same room with the family, to make them feel even a bit of discomfort when the characters are getting more and more discomforted in their reality. I thought that this way, it’ll make the viewers experience it, creating awareness. Malki loved my ideas and vision too.”
Why is it called Silent?
“The name of the song, Silent, resembles for me as the director – some kind of a certain silent scream and I saw it as a mission to direct a video that sends a cry for help to the world.”
What do you hope for this music video to become or mean for people?
“Life is delicate. Both our bodies and souls are fragile. No religion, culture, political view can justify violence. Certain people have tried to advise me to put political pictures – though needless to say, I’ve turned it down since it has nothing to do with politics, but it is about human love, giving, and art.
“No race, land or sex nor anything can justify violence upon so many innocent lives. I hope that the music video Silent will become an empowering message of peace and a wakeup call to the world.
“History repeats itself. Tragedies, wars, and human suffering are repeating themselves – there is no reason for it to continue, not in Syria – nor anywhere in the world. It all starts with inner peace within ourselves, therefore we should all live with inner peace so we can shine it on to the world.“
And how have people responded so far to what they’ve seen?
“People were astonished after watching the Silent music video. All of them were mesmerised, impressed by the video, and touched by the story. Some were shocked, some had chills running down their spines while crying after watching it.
“They just couldn’t believe that this is a part of our world even nowadays. Some didn’t even know a thing about what’s happening over there and thanked me for showing them, making them so much more aware of the subject.”