2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: CITY OF GHOSTS

city of ghostsCITY OF GHOSTS
Matthew Heineman captures a courageous group of citizen journalists and their struggle to expose the truth behind ISIS.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

A real life international thriller, CITY OF GHOSTS exposes a new type of warfare: a battle over ideas, a fight for hearts and minds, a conflict over clicks and views. Captivating in its immediacy, it follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” – a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With astonishing, deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Directed, produced, and filmed by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND, 2015 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award), CITY OF GHOSTS is a singularly powerful cinematic experience that is sure to shake audiences to their core as it elevates the canon of one of the most talented and exciting documentary filmmakers working today.

Some Background:

  • Matthew Heineman
    Past Sundance docs:

    CARTEL LAND (2015)
    ESCAPE FIRE (2012)

    This is the multihyphenate’s fourth doc feature, and his third to screen at Sundance following the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning, and Sundance twice-awarded CARTEL LAND, and the Emmy-nominated ESCAPE FIRE.


  • Matthew Hamachek
    Past Sundance docs:

    CARTEL LAND (co-producer/editor)
    GIDEON’S ARMY (2013, editor)
    IF A TREE FALLS (2011, editor)

    Hamachek, who is also one of the film’s editors, has twice won the US Documentary Editing Award.

  • Joedan Okun
    Okun served as a post-production supervisor on CARTEL LAND and co-producer of Heineman’s doc short THE THIRD MAN. He previously produced the Tribeca title THE CARRIER, the first film by another 2017 Sundance filmmaker, Maggie Betts.

  • Maya Seidler
    Seidler, the daughter of Academy Award-winning screenwriter David Seidler (THE KING’S SPEECH), also served as a co-producer on THE THIRD MAN short.

  • Juan Camilo Cruz
    This marks Cruz’s first Sundance credit.

Executive Producers:


Why You Should Watch:
Heineman offers an intimate and engrossing profile of the brave Syrian figures behind Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, frankly revealing what they’ve sacrificed through their work, and spotlighting their determination to keep fighting back against ISIS despite the gravest personal risk. The film is one of three docs at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival – together with LAST MEN IN ALEPPO and CRIES FROM SYRIA – offering multiple perspectives on the Syrian civil war.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

1 Comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

One response to “2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: CITY OF GHOSTS

  1. Pingback: Padre desesperado le pide ayuda a Santos por liberación de su hijo cineasta en Cuba

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