"First To Fall" -- Screening and Q&A with Filmmakers


Friday, October 24, 2014, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South Bldg, Belfer Case Study Room (S020), 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies is pleased to present

First to FallFirst To Fall
A film by Rachel Beth Anderson

Two friends abandoned their peaceful lives in Canada and return to their home country of Libya to fight in the revolution. Hamid (26) and Tarek (21) have never fired a gun, but in 2011 they run recklessly toward the war, fueled by their hatred of Muammar Gaddafi and their desire to be part of history. Once they get to Libya, their paths diverge immediately – Hamid blazes ahead with fearless enthusiasm, easily fitting into the boyish camaraderie among the rebel forces. Tarek's journey is more introspective and unsure. He's far from a natural-born soldier. Untrained fighters in an unconventional war, these boys risk everything to reach the front lines of battle.

For eight months, the cameras document raw moments of personal and breathtakingly dangerous acts of war and sacrifice as Hamid and Tarek join the rebels taking on Gaddafi's army. Director Rachel Beth Anderson captures the chaos and giddiness of revolution, the brutal loss of lives and innocence. Her intimate interviews with Hamid and Tarek chart their descent into war as they discover who they are and what they are capable of. In Tarek's words, “The end of the story is different than what I thought."

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers, Rachel Beth Anderson and Tim Grucza.

Rachel Beth Anderson, Director, has filmed in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, South Sudan, and Nepal for CNN “Hero’s”, PBS Frontline, Human Rights Watch, and the independent feature documentary film E-TEAM. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Journalism school, Rachel officially moved to Cairo in 2010. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution Rachel worked as a videographer and field producer for PBS Frontline documentaries: Gigi’s Revolution, and The Brothers. Her footage from the uprising is also included in multiple long form documentaries including BBC’s This World, Egypt – Children of the Revolution, PBS’s Before the Spring: After the Fall, independent films Zero-Silence and Uprising, and most recently Frontline's 2013 follow-up documentary, Egypt in Crisis.

Rachel's directorial debut feature documentary First To Fall was borne of an 8-month journey spanning the Libyan war. She felt the need to understand the young fighters and the Libyan people whose backyards became an active frontline. This motivation became the backbone of First To Fall. The film was a Gucci/TriBeCa grant recipient (2012) and had its World Premier screening at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) in late 2013. Rachel is currently based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Tim Grucza, Co-Director, is an Emmy award winning cinematographer and filmmaker. As a director/DP he has garnered several prizes including a Peabody in 2012 for work with CNN and the 2006 Banff International Television award for his first feature length documentary White Platoon. For the past 8 years he has shot and field produced dozens of films for PBS’ investigate documentary program Frontline. He specializes in conflict reporting, having covered the wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan through to the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions. After nine years based in Paris, France he moved to New York in 2010.

Contact: Liz Flanagan
Sponsor(s): The Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund