Matthew Heineman
English, Arabic

In this eye-opening and essential documentary, filmmaker Matthew Heineman enters the world of citizen journalism and anonymous activism to tell the story of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), the Syrian website that reports on the destruction of an ancient city that was once peaceful and beautiful.

Taken control of by ISIS in 2014, Raqqa remains one of the Syrian Civil War’s most violent conflicts. The everyday heroes reporting the city’s crisis—often doing so in the shadows, both on and off the internet—are under constant threat from ISIS, who have extended their acts of horrific violence to the friends and families of those working to document the ongoing war and the evils that perpetuate it.

Woven together from disturbing RBSS footage, City of Ghosts is just one story out of the Syrian Civil War, which UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has described as “the worst man-made disaster since World War II.” Heineman’s documentary, then, is at once urgent, poignant, and a testament to the importance of revealing the truth—no matter how risky that may be.


Following the film, please join us as we keep the conversation going. SWIFF presents a special post-screening panel discussion featuring El-Baba Mazen (Founder and Director of H-appi), Gilad Cohen (JAYU Executive Director) and moderator Nathan Colquhoun.