Olly Lambert takes a close look at the gulf between personal filmmaking and making docs for TV by comparing two versions of his remarkable footage showing the devastating impact of the war in Syria.
Syria: Across the Lines
Dir. Olly Lambert UK – 2013 – 48 mins
Syria: Across the Lines, commissioned by Channel 4/PBS reveals how the once-peaceful villages in the Orontes River Valley in rural Syria are being radicalised and torn apart by sectarian tension. With unprecedented access to both sides Lambert lived along this frontline for five weeks in late 2012. The resulting footage offers a raw and unflinching look at a nation breaking apart. It was while filming Syria: Across the Lines that Lambert witnessed and filmed what became, The Bombing of Al Bara.
The Bombing of Al Bara
Dir. Olly Lambert UK – 2013 – 36 mins
On 28 October 2012, a government jet dropped a bomb on the village of al-Bara 300 meters away from where Olly Lambert was filming a meeting of rebel soldiers. While keeping his camera rolling, Lambert documented the shocking impact of the regime air strike on a civilian population.
It wasn’t until he started editing Syria: Across the Lines for television broadcast that Lambert realised the power of the footage he’d shot that day in al-Bara. It was a candid insight into the difficult realities of documenting war. He added a personal voice over to the raw footage and published it online, creating a rare, immersive and powerful portrait of the civil war. The Bombing of Al Bara went viral eventually reaching a far greater number of people around the world than had tuned in to the original Channel 4/PBS piece.