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Title Treatment
The Film

Directed, produced, and filmed by Academy Award–nominated and Emmy–winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman, 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 documentary filmmakers working today. Captivating in its immediacy, City of Ghosts 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.

To learn more about Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), click

The Team
  • Matthew Heineman

    Director / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor

    Matthew Heineman is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker based in New York. His film CARTEL LAND was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking and Best Cinematography. The film premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where Heineman won the Best Director Award and Special Jury Prize for Cinematography.

    The film was released theatrically nationwide by The Orchard in July 2015 and had its broadcast premiere on A&E in January 2016. Heineman won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary Award from the Director’s Guild of America for the film, as well as the Courage Under Fire Award from the International Documentary Association “in recognition of conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth.” He was also named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015. In addition, CARTEL LAND was nominated for a Gotham Award, Critics’ Choice Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and was recently presented with the 2015 Documentary Award by the prestigious George Polk Awards in Investigative Journalism.

    Previously, he directed and produced a feature-length documentary ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. It premiered at Sundance 2012, won numerous awards at festivals across the country, and was released by Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate to critical praise in October 2012. The film premiered on CNN in March 2013, and was subsequently nominated for an Emmy.

    Heineman collaborated for two years with a team at HBO on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated HBO series, The Alzheimer's Project, which aired in May 2009. He also directed and produced OUR TIME – a feature length documentary about what it's like to be young in today's America. Heineman has directed several short films and commercials and is in development on a few different projects.

  • Matthew Hamachek


    Matthew Hamachek began his career working on the Oscar-nominated documentary STREET FIGHT with Marshall Curry and went on to collaborate with Curry on three films including IF A TREE FALLS which won the Documentary Editing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012. Hamachek also won the Documentary Editing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for GIDEON’S ARMY. He followed that with MEET THE PATELS. In 2015 he co-produced and edited CARTEL LAND which went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and win three Emmy awards. His most recent film, AMANDA KNOX, premiered in the fall of 2016 to critical acclaim.

  • Pax Wassermann


    Pax Wassermann is a film editor and producer with twenty years in documentary and fiction features. CITY OF GHOSTS is his second film with director Matthew Heineman, following 2015’s Sundance prize-winner CARTEL LAND (also nominated for a 2015 Academy Award). His other work includes DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER, KNUCKLEBALL! And WHICH WAY HOME, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009.

  • H. Scott Salinas


    Award-winning composer, H. Scott Salinas has contributed towards an impressive variety of notable projects including Bruce Lee action fable BIRTH OF THE DRAGON, Aaron Sorkin's smash hit The Newsroom, TNT's dark thriller Murder in the First, and the Oscar-nominated documentary film CARTEL LAND. Along with accolades such as the prestigious Cannes Lion, Clio, BMI, and Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composer awards, Scott's accomplishments have earned him esteem and recognition as a highly versatile yet specialized talent.

  • Jackson Greenberg


    Jackson Greenberg is a composer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer originally based in Los Angeles, CA. Jackson’s recent film and TV work includes the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary CARTEL LAND (soundtrack, Lakeshore Records), and two projects premiering at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival: CITY OF GHOSTS (Dir. Matthew Heineman), and HOT GIRLS WANTED: TURNED ON (Netflix, April 2017). Jackson received an undergraduate degree in music from Princeton University and a graduate degree in composition/scoring from Motion Pictures and TV from The Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

  • Alex Gibney

    Executive Producer

    Alex Gibney is an American documentary film director and producer. Gibney has been called “the most important documentarian of our time” by Esquire Magazine and “one of America’s most successful and prolific documentary filmmakers” by The New York Times. His previous work includes Taxi to the Dark Side, winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the Emmy-award winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), among others.

  • Molly Thompson

    Executive Producer

    Molly Thompson is founder of A+E Networks’ documentary feature production arm, A&E IndieFilms. Thompson has built a library of critically acclaimed, award winning titles including four Academy Award® nominated films, LIFE, ANIMATED (2016), CARTEL LAND (2015), JESUS CAMP (2006) and MURDERBALL (2005). She also serves as executive producer for documentaries produced under the History Films banner, such as the Emmy®-nominated BEING EVEL (2016), and for narrative features from Lifetime Films, including Eleanor Coppola’s PARIS CAN WAIT (2016), starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin.

  • 7/7/17 – NEW YORK, NY

    7/14/17 – Berkeley, CA

    7/14/17 – Hollywood, CA

    7/14/17 – LOS ANGELES, CA

    7/14/17 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA

    7/14/17 – WASHINGTON, DC

    7/21/17 – CHICAGO, IL

    7/21/17 – DENVER, CO

    7/21/17 – Encino, CA

    7/21/17 – Evanston, IL

    7/21/17 – Irvine, CA

    7/21/17 – LOS ANGELES, CA

    7/21/17 – ORANGE COUNTY, CA

    7/21/17 – Pasadena, CA

    7/21/17 – PHILADELPHA, PA

    7/21/17 – SEATTLE, WA

    7/28/17 – ALBANY, NY

    7/28/17 – ALBUQUERQUE, NM

    7/28/17 – AUSTIN, TX

    7/28/17 – CLEVELAND, OH

    7/28/17 – DALLAS, TX

    7/28/17 – Edina, MN

    7/28/17 – INDIANAPOLIS, IN

    7/28/17 – Kansas City, MO

    7/28/17 – LONG BEACH, CA

    7/28/17 – MINNEAPOLIS, MN

    7/28/17 – NASHVILLE, TN

    7/28/17 – PHOENIX, AZ

    7/28/17 – Portland, OR

    7/28/17 – Salt Lake City, UT

    7/28/17 – Santa Rosa, CA

    7/28/17 – Scottsdale, AZ

    7/28/17 – Waterville, ME

    8/4/17 – Charlotte, NC

    8/4/17 – Knoxville, TN

    8/4/17 – Louisville, KY

    8/18/17 – BURLINGTON, VT

    8/18/17 – St. Johnsbury, VT

    8/25/17 – Lincoln, NE

Past Screenings
  • Sundance Film Festival 2017

    CPH:DOX 2017

    DOCVILLE International Documentary Film Festival 2017

    Dallas Film Festival 2017

    Sarasota Film Festival 2017

    Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2017

    San Francisco International Film Festival 2017

    Tribeca Film Festival 2017

    Hot Docs 2017

    Independent Film Festival Boston 2017

    Montclair Film Festival 2017

    Seattle International Film Festival 2017

    Telluride Mountainfilm 2017

    Berkshire International Film Festival 2017

    Greenwich Film Festival 2017

    Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

    Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2017

    AFIDOCS 2017

    Nantucket Film Festival 2017

    Frontline Club 2017

    • 70th Annual DGA Awards Winners

      February 3rd, 2018

      Matthew Heineman has won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achivement in Documentary. This is his second time receiving the award after winning for Cartel Land in 2015

      Full Story: The Directors Guild of America

    • British Academy Film Awards Nominations in 2018

      January 9th, 2018

      The British Academy has nominated City of Ghosts for Best Documentary.

      Full Story: BAFTA

    • Oscars 2018: leading contenders for the Academy Award for best film

      January 8th, 2018

      The Week mentions City of Ghosts as one of the leading contenders for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: The Week

    • What You Need to Know About the “Win” Against ISIS in Raqqa

      January 6th, 2018

      Salon speaks with City of Ghosts director Matthew Heineman and Aziz Alhamza of RBSS about the continuing fight against ideological extremism.

      Full Story: Salon

    • The Top 100 Movies of 2017

      January 4th, 2018

      MovieFreak names City of Ghosts one of the top movies of 2017.

      Full Story: MovieFreak

    • Documentaries Are Losing the Theatrical Game, But Don’t Despair Yet

      January 3rd, 2018

      City of Ghosts was one of the most theatrically successful documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • The Best Documentaries of 2017

      January 3rd, 2018

      The Playlist has listed City of Ghosts as one of the Best Documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: The Playlist

    • These are the Only 7 Films to Earn a Perfect Score on Rotten Tomatoes This Year

      December 28th, 2017

      City of Ghosts has earned an honorable mention on Entertainment Weekly’s report on the highest scoring films of the year with 99% positive reviews.

      Full Story: Entertainment Weekly

    • Oscars: Examining the Shortlisted Contenders for Best Doc Feature

      December 27th, 2017

      Matthew Carey of Deadline writes about City of Ghosts in his examination of the 2018 Shortlist for the Academy Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: Deadline

    • Oscar Predictions in All 24 Academy Categories

      December 26th, 2017

      Kristopher Tapley of Variety lists City of Ghosts as a frontrunner for the 2018 Oscar Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: Variety

    • Here Are Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Reviewed Movies of 2017

      December 26th, 2017

      City of Ghosts has made it onto Time’s list of the Best Reviewed Movies of 2017 with a score of 99% positive reviews.

      Full Story: Time

    • Director Matthew Heineman On His Oscar-Shortlisted Doc ‘City of Ghosts’: “The Hardest Film I’ve Made By Far”

      December 22nd, 2017

      Matthew Heineman speaks with Matthew Carey of Deadline about his work on City of Ghosts and the continuing battle against ideological extremism and propaganda.

      Full Story: Deadline

    • The Best Documentaries of 2017

      December 21st, 2017

      Christopher Campbell of Thrillist has listed City of Ghosts as one of the Best Documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: Thrillist

    • The Best Documentaries of 2017

      December 19th, 2017

      The Film Stage lists City of Ghosts as one of the best documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: The Film Stage

    • The 10 Best Documentaries of 2017

      December 18th, 2017

      Decider has listed City of Ghosts #1 on their list of the 10 Best Documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: Decider

    • Awards Predictions - Experts

      December 18th, 2017

      Nine film critics have predicted that City of Ghosts will be one of the nominees for the 2018 Oscar Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: Gold Derby

    • Feinberg Forecast: Oscar Race Standings as Holidays Near

      December 16th, 2017

      Scott Feinberg lists City of Ghosts as one of the frontrunners for the 2018 Oscar Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • DFW Film Critics Name ‘The Shape of Water’ Best Picture of 2017

      December 13, 2017

      City of Ghosts has won the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award

      Full Story: Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association

    • Best Documentaries of 2017

      December 11, 2017

      Esquire calls City of Ghosts one of the best documentaries of 2017.

      Full Story: Esquire

    • ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Leads the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations

      December 11, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated for the Seattle Film Critics Society Award for Best Documentary.

      Full Story: Seattle Film Critics Society

    • 2017 StLFCA Awards

      December 11, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated for the St. Louis Film Critics Association Award for Best Documentary.

      Full Story: St. Louis Film Critics Association

    • Winners and Nominees for the 30th Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

      December 11, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Documentary.

      Full Story: Chicago Film Critics Association

    • Feinberg Forecast: Lay of the Land Before the Golden Globe and SAG Awards

      December 8, 2017

      Scott Feinberg lists City of Ghosts as one of the frontrunners for the 2018 Oscar Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • 15 Documentary Features Advance in 2017 Oscars Race

      December 7, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been placed on the Oscars shortlist for Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

    • NTFCA Awards Nomination Announcement

      December 6, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated for Best Documentary by the North Texas Film Critics Association.

      Full Story: North Texas Film Critics Association

    • The Best Films of 2017

      December 4, 2017

      Nick Schager of Esquire lists City of Ghosts as one of the best films of 2017.

      Full Story: Esquire

    • The Braddies 2017: Peter Bradshaw nominates his films of the year

      December 4, 2017

      The Guardian’s film critic Peter Bradshaw lists City of Ghosts on his shortlist for the most awards-worthy films of the year.

      Full Story: The Guardian

    • Feinberg Forecast: A Wide-Open Race Enters December

      December 1, 2017

      Scott Feinberg lists City of Ghosts as one of the frontrunners for the 2018 Oscar Award in Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • PGA Awards Unveil Documentary Feature Nominees

      November 20, 2017

      City of Ghosts has received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for The Producers Guild of America Awards.

      Full Story: Deadline

    • Oscars 2018: A Look At The Contenders In The Best Documentary Feature Race

      November 16, 2017

      Antonia Blyth of Deadline lists City of Ghosts as one of the top contenders for the 2018 Oscar Award for Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: Deadline

    • 2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature

      November 15, 2017

      Anne Thompson of IndieWire lists City of Ghosts as a frontrunner for the 2018 Oscar Award for Best Documentary Feature.

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • The Art of Observation

      November 13, 2017

      Editor and Co-Producer Matthew Hamachek joins Greg Baker and Julie Goldman at the DOC NYC Festival to discuss observational filmmaking.

      Full Story: DOC NYC Festival

    • City of Ghosts' Hero Journalist Abdalaziz Alhamza on His 'Duty' to Confront ISIS

      November 10, 2017

      Abdalaziz Alhamza speaks to The Wrap about the work of RBSS and the continuing ideological battle against extremism.

      Full Story: The Wrap

    • Documentary Roundtable: Ethical Dilemmas and Shouldering a "Very Different Responsibility Than 20 Years Ago"

      November 10, 2017

      Matthew Heineman joins six other nonfiction filmmakers to discuss their films at The Hollywood Reporter's Documentary Roundtable

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • Feinberg Forecast: Updated Oscar Standings as the Race Heads Into November

      November 1, 2017

      Scott Feinberg of THR predicts City of Ghosts as one of the five Oscar nominations for this year's Best Documentary Feature

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • City of Ghosts' Among IDA Documentary Awards Nominees

      November 1, 2017

      The International Documentary Association has nominated City of Ghosts for Best Feature at this year's IDA Documentary Awards

      Full Story: Variety

    • IDA Documentary Awards 'City of Ghosts' Among Best Feature Nominees

      November 1, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated Best Feature for the 2017 IDA Documentary Awards

      Full Story: Deadline

    • The Tragic Legacy of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently

      October 21, 2017

      David Remnick interviews Abdalaziz Alhamza for The New Yorker following the capture of Raqqa from ISIS control.

      Full Story: The New Yorker

    • Chris Osterndorf reviews City of Ghosts for The Daily Dot

      October 18, 2017

      Chris Osterndorf reviews City of Ghosts for The Daily Dot.

      Full Story: The Daily Dot

    • Interview: Matthew Heineman on Covering a War of Information in “City of Ghosts”

      October 18, 2017

      Interview with Matthew Heineman about the making of and message in City of Ghosts.

      Full Story: Moveable Fest

    • Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards Nominations: Broadcast Film and TV Critics Change Rules to Reflect Digital Reality

      October 9, 2017

      City of Ghosts has been nominated for three Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. Best Documentary, Best Director – Matthew Heineman, and Best Political Documentary.

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • 2017 Short List

      October 2017

      City of Ghosts has been selected for the 2017 Doc NYC Short List.

      Full Story: DOC NYC

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Director Matthew Heineman Explains How to Fight ISIS Without Bombs

      September 27, 2017

      Matthew Heineman speaks with Anne Thompson of IndieWire about City of Ghosts and continuing the ideological battle against extremism.

      Full Story: IndieWire


      September 13, 2017

      "The International Documentary Association has given Matthew Heineman the 2017 Courage Under Fire Award for conspicuous bravery in pursuit of the truth."

      Full Story:

    • City of Ghosts Review

      August 2017 (Prerelease)

      “City of Ghosts asks us to see something of ourselves in these activists.”

      Full Story: Sight & Sound

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Review

      July 30, 2017

      “[Matthew Heineman] once again proves his expertise as the messenger of important (and dangerous) stories that need to be told.”

      Full Story: International Policy Digest

    • Death of a City

      July 26, 2017

      “Matthew Heineman’s powerful film, difficult to watch at times, does not concern itself with history. Its focus is the here and now…”

      Full Story: The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

    • City of Ghosts Review

      July 24, 2017

      “A real-life procedural, an informative and heart-pounding political thriller…”

      Full Story: Paste Magazine

    • These citizen journalists risk their lives to report from Raqqa

      July 24, 2017

      Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza speak with PBS Newshour’s Jeffrey Brown about City of Ghosts and the war on terror in Raqqa.

      Full Story: PBS Newshour

    • Latest movies: Dunkirk, City of Ghosts

      July 21, 2017

      4 star review from Radio Times!

      Full Story: Radio Times

    • City of Ghosts

      July 21, 2017

      “[The film] puts a human face, a point of contact, on the often overwhelming enormity of Syria’s national tragedy.”

      Full Story: Little White Lies

    • Film review: City of Ghosts

      July 21, 2017

      4/5 stars! “Matthew Heineman’s pulverizing documentary salutes the mind boggling bravery of RBSS.”

      Full Story: The Times UK

    • City of Ghosts, film review, Brutal reality of life in the IS capital

      July 21, 2017

      4/5 stars! “Visually beautiful, emotionally tender.”

      Full Story: The Evening Standard

    • Red Sky July, Matthew Heineman and Dermot Kavanagh

      July 21, 2017

      Listen to Matthew Heineman speak with BBC Radio London Live!

      Full Story: BBC Radio London

    • The Film Review: City of Ghosts

      July 21, 2017

      Watch the BBC’s review of City of Ghosts!

      Full Story: BBC

    • City of Ghosts director Matthew Heineman: ‘Imagine seeing people crucified – every day’

      July 21, 2017

      “City of Ghosts is the kind of visceral real life story Heineman is becoming known for.”

      Full Story: The Guardian

    • Film review: City of Ghosts

      July 21, 2017

      5 stars! “This timely documentary is a stirring testament to courageous journalism and the virtue of and sacrifice for truth”

      Full Story: The Jewish Chronicle

    • Film Review: City of Ghosts

      July 20, 2017

      4/5 Stars! “It’s a cinematic testament to what citizen journalism can be and the crucial role of the media as a means to inform the world.”

      Full Story: The National (Scotland)

    • “City of Ghosts” is an extraordinary look at journalism in Raqqa

      July 20, 2017

      The Economist calls City of Ghosts “a remarkable new documentary film.”

      Full Story: The Economist

    • Searing documentary ‘City of Ghosts’ honors Syria’s citizen journalists

      July 20, 2017

      “A riveting nonfiction thriller”

      Full Story: Daily Herald

    • Film Reviews Round-Up: City of Ghosts

      July 19, 2017

      4 stars! City of Ghosts “shows how its subjects try to carry on living their lives in spite of the sacrifices they’ve had to make.”

      Full Story: Independent

    • City of Ghosts Tells the Story of Citizen Journalists Fighting ISIS Propaganda

      July 17, 2017

      Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza talk with Reason TV about City of Ghosts and the war in Syria.

      Full Story: Reason TV

    • City of Ghosts (2017) Review

      July 17, 2017

      5 stars! “This is an important film that confirms Heineman’s position as one of America’s finest documentary filmmakers – and he’s still only 33.”

      Full Story: Empire

    • City of Ghosts Review

      July 17, 2017

      “City of Ghosts is essential viewing…[it] celebrates the power of community activism and journalism, and hammers home the need to help those fleeing such intolerable terror.”

      Full Story: The List

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Shows Everyday Horrors of Living with ISIS

      July 16, 2017

      “NPR's Michel Martin speaks with director Matthew Heineman about his new film City of Ghosts.”

      Full Story: NPR

    • PopPolitics: ‘City of Ghosts’ Looks at the Syrian Civilian Journalists Who Defied ISIS

      July 16, 2017

      Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza talk with PopPolitics about City of Ghosts.

      Full Story: Variety

    • City of Ghosts Review

      July 2017

      “City of Ghosts is as much about the immigrant experience and the strength of brotherhood as it is about ISIS and those who report on them.”

      Full Story: TANK Magazine

    • Matthew Heineman on ‘City of Ghosts’ and his affinity for picking (seemingly) futile battles

      July 14, 2017

      The Washington Post talks with Matthew Heineman about making City of Ghosts.

      Full Story: Washington Post

    • Movie Review: City of Ghosts

      July 14, 2017

      “Heineman does not pull any punches.”

      Full Story: Brightest Young Things

    • City of Ghosts: Telling the Truth of a City at War

      July 14, 2017

      “City of Ghosts is an extraordinary film that manages to convey an inspirational message out of the cauldron of horror and slaughter created by ISIS.”

      Full Story: World Affairs Council

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ haunts with a portrait of citizen journalists combating ISIS

      July 14, 2017

      “Heineman finds beauty in his subject, whether it’s gorgeous cinematography of the Syrian landscape or powerful portraits of the men he’s profiling – elevating his documentary expose to art.”

      Full Story: L.A. Biz Journal

    • On the Media

      July 14, 2017

      ON THE MEDIA chats with Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza [interview starts at 31:00].

      Full Story: NPR

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Review: Journalism in the Face of Terror

      July 13, 2017

      City of Ghosts “provides a vision of dedication to reportorial truth in the desperate efforts of an improvised news organization…”

      Full Story: Wall Street Journal

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ is a taut, immediate portrait of Syria’s citizen journalist heroes

      July 13, 2017

      “Directed by Matthew Heineman with breathtaking access and urgency, ‘City of Ghosts’ possesses the same taut, cinemaverite energy as his previous film “Cartel Land.”

      Full Story: The Washington Post

    • City of Ghosts: Filmmaker documents the war of ideas with ISIL

      July 13, 2017

      Al Jazeera speaks with RBSS spokesman Abdalaziz Alhamza about City of Ghosts.

      Full Story: Al Jazeera

    • The 20 Best Documentaries of 2017 So Far

      July 13, 2017

      “A film like this is more vital than ever to prove exactly how important the profession [journalism] is.”

      Full Story: The Playlist

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ examines a courageous band of Syrian citizen-journalists taking on ISIS

      July 13, 2017

      ““City of Ghosts” demonstrates, in Hamoud’s phrase, that “the camera is more powerful than a weapon,” but it also shows the horrible price it extracts from those who wield it.”

      Full Story: LA Times

    • Harrowing Human Tales: Matthew Heineman’s ‘City of Ghosts’ is a Devastating and Necessary Documentary

      July 13, 2017

      IDA speaks with Matthew Heineman about City of Ghosts.

      Full Story:

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ director Matthew Heineman documents Syria’s citizen journalists who dare to defy ISIS

      July 12, 2017

      Non Fiction Film chats with Matthew Heineman and RBSS spokesman Abdalaziz Alhamza.

      Full Story: Non Fiction Film

    • The Best Movies of 2017 So Far

      July 11, 2017

      “A chronologically fractured, up-close-and-personal depiction of courage under fire, it’s a film that inspires as much as it horrifies and infuriates.”

      Full Story: Esquire

    • ‘City of Ghosts’: A harrowing tribute to Syrian activists

      July 10, 2017

      City of Ghosts “will be remembered most for putting a human face on the citizen journalists who – at great risk – exposed the terrorist group’s horrors in Raqqa, the ISIS-proclaimed capital that has been largely cut off from the world.”

      Full Story: SF Gate

    • Islamic State terror tactics exposed by Syrian reporters in documentary ‘City of Ghosts’

      July 10, 2017

      “Matthew Heineman’s shocking, bracing new documentary.”

      Full Story: Washington Times

    • The Guerilla Journalists Defying ISIS One Video at a Time

      July 7, 2017

      The “juxtaposition of humanity and heroism is the point of City of Ghosts.”

      Full Story: WIRED

    • City of Ghosts

      July 7, 2017

      “City of Ghosts serves as a stark reminder that journalism not only matters, but it is essential to fighting evil, which cannot flourish as easily in a spotlight.”

      Full Story: Roger Ebert

    • Syrian Citizen Journalists Fight ISIS in Vital Doc

      July 7, 2017

      “As information-age documents go, it’s as necessary a glimpse of 21st century heroism and ideology warfare as you’re going to encounter, and a brutally effective argument for compassion toward those forced from their homeland.”

      Full Story: The Wrap

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Chronicles Syrian Activists Battling ISIS with Journalism

      July 7, 2017

      “The film is a brutally intimate look at the power of humanity in the face of the inhumane.”

      Full Story: Vice Impact

    • Review: In ‘City of Ghosts,’ Fighting ISIS With Journalism

      July 6, 2017

      “An urgent and heart-heavy account of Syrian resistance from the ground up.”

      Full Story: New York Times

    • Meet the brave Syrian citizens documenting ISIS horrors

      July 6, 2017 

      “The documentary “City of Ghosts” is a profound study in bravery.”

      Full Story: New York Post

    • Film Review: City of Ghosts

      July 6, 2017

      “Matthew Heineman’s documentary City of Ghosts is one of the most resonant of these stories about ordinary people trying to maintain their humanity amidst horribly extraordinary circumstances.”

      Full Story: Film Journal International

    • From Raqqa in Ruins (Leonard Lopate)

      July 6, 2017

      Listen to Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza talk with Leonard Lopate.

      Full Story: WNYC

    • Fighting ISIS is More Complicated Than You Think

      July 6, 2017

      Matthew Heineman: “One of my goals with the film is to celebrate journalism, but also to provoke empathy for what’s happening in Raqqa and what’s happening to the Syrian people.”

      Full Story: VICE

    • The citizen journalists in CITY OF GHOSTS risk everything for truth

      July 6, 2017

      “A powerful reminder of how essential freedom of the press really is, and how easily it can be taken away.”

      Full Story: A.V. Club

    • In ‘City of Ghosts’, true heroism in an IS capital

      July 5, 2017

      “So-called heroes sling into action just about every weekend of the summer movie season, but if you want to see the genuine article, you’ll have to make your way to “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s documentary about the Syrian citizen journalist collective of Raqqa.”

      Full Story: Associated Press

    • Meet the Fearless Filmmakers Taking on ISIS in City of Ghosts

      July 5, 2017

      Jordan Hoffman speaks with Matthew Heineman and Abdalaziz Alhamza about the film and the work of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

      Full Story: Vanity Fair

    • CITY OF GHOSTS review

      July 5, 2017

      “We are left with a heartfelt look at some of the noblest people in the journalism profession, and with sharply edited film honing right in on the anarchy unleashed by a group that has superseded Al Queda and the Taliban for their fervor, their brutality, and their successes.”

      Full Story: CompuServe | Showbiz

    • Q&A: Filmmaker documents courage of Syria’s citizen journalists

      July 3, 2017

      “An important and moving film that crystallizes the purpose and power of journalism, the courage and sacrifice of those fighting to get the truth out, and the human impact of a war being waged across the ocean.” – Shelly Hepworth

      Full Story: Columbia Journalism Review

    • “It’s an homage to real journalism, to seeking the truth, to fighting for the truth, especially as quote unquote journalism is under fire…. I think it’s important to celebrate and to honor the importance of exposing the truth, and that’s part of what this group stands for.” -Matthew Heineman

    • City of Ghosts

      July 3, 2017

      “The canniest and most overwhelming documentary to date about the ongoing Syrian civil war”

      Full Story: Slant Magazine

    • Meet the Brave Journalists Taking On ISIS

      July 3, 2017

      “Embracing the notion that evil’s greatest adversary is a truth exposed to all, Heineman’s doc is a stirring testament to valor and resolve in the face of tragedy and menace, and a case study in how wars are also fought, and sometimes won, on the battlefields of ideology and images.”

      Full Story: DAILY BEAST

    • Trump’s Muslim travel ban is a win for ISIS: This must-see film about Syrian journalists shows why

      July 1, 2017

      “The brilliance of the film, and the reason why it is such a must-see in the United States right now, lies in the message it sends about how a group of people can cope with the threat of terrorism.”

      Full Story: Salon

    • Best Movies to See in July

      June 30, 2017

      “A thunderous declaration of journalism's utter necessity in an age of alternative facts and fake news, [CITY OF GHOSTS] is a prime example of documentary filmmaking doubling as a meaningful act of public good.”

      Full Story: Rolling Stone

    • Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Movies You Need to See in July

      June 30, 2017

      “City of Ghosts pulses with the urgency, immediacy, and high stakes of what they’re doing.”

      Full Story: Flavorwire

    • City of Ghosts is an urgent and timely Syria documentary

      June 29, 2017

      “As the world slowly wrestles with how to fight ISIS, here’s a story of a handful of intrepid individuals who don’t have the luxury of waiting. City of Ghosts shows us what journalism can do in the face of evil. Its message is haunting, humane, and ultimately hopeful.” A- rating

      Full Story: Entertainment Weekly

    • Don’t Look Away

      June 28th Edition

      “City of Ghosts and Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently demand that you contemplate it — that you find within yourself the capacity for outrage.”

      Full Story: Village Voice

    • A Conversation with Matthew Heineman & Abdalaziz Alhamza

      June 27, 2017

      Hammer to Nail talks interviews subject Abdalaziz Alhamza and director Matthew Heineman about the making of City of Ghosts.

      Full Story: Hammer to Nail

    • Facebook Live Interview with Matt Heineman

      June 27, 2017

      “Matthew Heineman joins CPJ multimedia producer Mustafa Hameed for a conversation about the documentary and the tremendous challenges facing RBSS journalists.”

      Full Story: CPJ

    • Letter from New York: on films and film criticism

      June 22, 2017

      The best film I saw at the [BIFF] festival was Matthew Heineman's documentary "City of Ghosts," … Given the subject, the film can't help but be moving, yet, it never consciously manipulates our emotions, just depicts this media war against ISIS's repression and terror in a powerfully understated manner.

      Full Story: Berkshire Eagle

    • CITY OF GHOSTS War is Hell

      June 21, 2017

      “It’s as if Heineman, having made [Cartel Land] where he was the unseen action hero of the drama, now wants to celebrate and honor those who do the same in even higher stakes. As a result, he makes a film that is not only a powerful indictment of fanaticism but a celebration of those who resist.”

      Full Story: Hammer to Nail

    • Message From the Other Side

      July 2017 Issue

      Documentary legends D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus discuss City of Ghosts with Director Matthew Heineman.

      Full Story: Filmmaker Magazine

    • Syrian Truth-Tellers Strike Back at ISIS with an Unusual Weapon

      June 20, 2017

      Interview with Director Matthew Heineman by Tasbeeh Herwees. “Propaganda is one of the evilest tools that human beings have used throughout history. In this world of extremely polarized media, there’s no more important story to tell than the story of people fighting for truth.”

      Full Story: GOOD

    • “City of Ghosts,” “Unrest” take Sheffield Doc / Fest Awards

      June 13, 2017

      City of Ghosts wins the Grand Jury Prize win at Sheffield Docs Film Festival. A jury statement read, “City of Ghosts is a passionate portrayal of people who took their lives in their hands to fight an evil that looms over the world…A compelling and vital film.”

      Full Story: Realscreen

    • Behind the Scenes of City of Ghosts

      June 8, 2017

      Director Matthew Heineman talks about telling the story of a small group of moderate Muslims as they fight ISIS in their home town. “A battle-group of modern Muslim men fighting for the truth. Exposing the horrors of what’s happening in their city of Raqqa and their country of Syria. These men and women are risking their lives to expose what ISIS is doing. One of my goals is to put a human face to the struggle.”

      Full Story: KCTS9

    • 2017 Alt-Summer Movie Preview: Haunted Dolls, Docs and Tupac

      May 26, 2017

      “Where do you look for your next subject after you've just embedded yourself on the edge of the Mexican border's drug war? If you're Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman, the answer, apparently, is Syria….It's harrowing stuff, and a grounds-eye look at what Syrians are doing to counteract what often seems like a no-win situation to those of us viewing the conflict from a safe distance.”

      Full Story: Rolling Stone

    • SIFF 2017: Highlights of the film festival’s second week

      May 25, 2017

      “★★★★ Timely, pressing, important.”

      Full Story: Seattle Times

    • 'Show the truth': Citizen journalists report on life under ISIS in new film

      May 2, 2017

      Anna Maria Tremonti interviews Abdel-Aziz Al-Hamza and Matthew Heineman from Hot Docs Film Festival.

      Full Story: CBC Radio

    • The Best and Worst Documentaries of the Tribeca Film Festival

      May 1, 2017

      “Ghosts becomes a portrait of true, and terrifying, heroism – but with a devastating personal and emotional price.”

      Full Story: Flavorwire

    • Review: City of Ghosts

      April 27, 2017

      “Mathew Heineman follows up his Oscar-nominated Cartel Land with this piercing, effective look at these brave truth tellers… With intimacy and a deft touch, Heineman’s portrayal is stellar, always focusing on the subjects rather than the subjectivity of the filmmaker…there are few films of such heart and intelligence that will be seen.”

      Full Story: POV Magazine

    • 5 Ways Documentaries Can Save the World

      April 21, 2017

      “Much of Syria suffers from the debilitating effects of ISIS strongholds; fortunately, a few citizen journalists have sought grassroots strategies to fight back. Some of those efforts are chronicled in “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s Sundance-acclaimed documentary about the journalists in Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a collective that uses a variety of innovative methods to leak stories about ISIS oppression to the rest of the world.”

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • Interview with Matthew Heineman

      April 20, 2017

      Interview with Matthew Heineman about City of Ghosts by Gabrielle Canal

      Full Story: Global Citizen

    • 17 Movies to See at the Tribeca Film Festival

      April 20, 2017

      “Matthew Heineman’s ravaging, essential doc profiles citizen journalists’ attempt to blow the whistle on Islamic State atrocities in Syria.”

      Full Story: New York Magazine | Vulture

    • 40 Films to See Summer 2017

      April 18, 2017

      “Cut together with gut-wrenching intensity and packed with footage that feels equal parts remarkable and horrifying, Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman returns to Sundance with City of Ghosts…”

      Full Story: The Film Stage

    • One-Person Crew: The Pros and Cons of Making a Documentary by Yourself

      March 27, 2017

      “Heineman would constantly move, trying to switch up coverage and find ways to cinematically capture the raw emotions and tension inherent to his stories of men risking everything to inform the world of the slaughter happening to their neighbors. Internally, it’s quite dynamic; externally, we see them leaning over a laptop or talking on cell phones.”

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • City of Ghosts (and resilient grit) – Interview with Matthew Heineman, H. Scott Salinas, and Jackson Greenberg

      March 21, 2017

      “From its first ethereal tones, Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman’s … CITY OF GHOSTS music score and sound design achieves a hauntingly simultaneous balance of nearly-imperceptible presence and atmospheric poignancy.”

      Full Story: Film Music Magazine

    • Conversation with Matthew Heineman and Shaul Schwartz

      February 7, 2017

      Watch Matthew Heineman and Shaul Schwartz “discuss their 2017 Sundance Film Festival docs, how they go into filmmaking in the first place, and the films their mothers would like them to tackle next.”

      Full Story: Sundance Film Festival

    • The 20 Best Films of Sundance 2017

      February 1, 2017

      “Stunning” –– Paste Magazine names City of Ghosts the #4 film at Sundance this year!

      Full Story: Paste Magazine

    • Sundance 2017: “Nobody Speak, “City of Ghosts”

      January 31, 2017

      “Harrowing…a comprehensive look at the rise of ISIS.”

      Full Story: Roger Ebert

    • Critics Pick the Best Movies and Performances From the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

      January 31, 2017

      City of Ghosts voted the #1 documentary by the Sundance Critics Poll!

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • City of Ghosts: Sundance 2017 Review

      January 30, 2017

      “Heineman has put together a crucial piece of work here…Rarely do documentaries feel so of-the-moment, so tragic, and so hopeful...There is life and death in every single frame of City of Ghosts, not to be easily forgotten.”

      Full Story: The Film Stage

    • Sundance Interview: CITY OF GHOSTS Director Matthew Heineman

      January 30, 2017

      Heineman tells Jason Gorber how “the importance of first-hand accounts, especially as journalism, is under attack. I think this [film] is an homage, to some degree, to the importance of truth seeking and truth telling.”

      Full Story: Birth.Movies.Death

    • Sundance 2017 Breakouts: Here’s The Movies You Can Expect To See In Next Year’s Oscar Race

      January 30, 2017

      “Heineman reveals delicacy and sensitivity while filming his subjects up close. This timely movie is heartbreaking.”

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • ‘City of Ghosts’ Director Matthew Heineman Says His Documentary Subjects From Syria Are Affected By Trump Muslim Ban

      January 28, 2017

      ““City of Ghosts” director Matthew Heineman is speaking out against the executive order President Donald Trump signed Friday restricting visits and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • ★★★★★
      City of Ghosts review: could be the definitive Syria documentary

      January 27, 2017

      Matthew Heineman’s return to Sundance after his Oscar-nominated Cartel Land is a triumphant one. Where his previous film was a journalistic masterclass in taking access to the extreme, City of Ghosts instead turns the camera on heroic journalists themselves. In doing so, Heineman may have made the definitive contemporary documentary about the tragedy of Syria, as well as an epoch-defining piece on modern media tactics.

      Full Story: The Guardian

    • Sudden Impact: How Sundance Documentaries Have Gained (or Lost) Relevance in the Trump Age

      January 26, 2017

      From Ferguson to Syria, the citizen journalists profiled in “Cartel Land” director Matthew Heineman’s latest engrossing high-stakes doc-thriller “City of Ghosts” also present a stirring and disturbing vision of protest against all odds.

      Full Story: IndieWire

    • Sundance ’17: Heineman’s “City of Ghosts” Tells Harrowing Human Tale

      January 25, 2017

      This year, [Matthew Heineman] is back at Sundance with City of Ghosts, a powerful cinematic experience that follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” (RBSS) – a handful of anonymous activists and unwitting journalists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014 on a mission to get their stories out to the world undercover, on the run and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the great evils in the world today.

      Full Story: Realscreen

    • Matthew Heineman: “I Don’t Dream About Projects – Projects Hit Me in the Face” | Sundance 2017

      January 23, 2017

      “I don’t script what’s going to happen in the future.”

      Full Story: The Hollywood Reporter

    • Documentary ‘City of Ghosts’ Is A Wide-Eyed, Jaw Dropping Look At The Battle Against ISIS [Sundance Review]

      January 21, 2017

      “City of Ghosts” is documentarian Matthew Heineman’s third film to bow at Sundance, after 2012’s health care doc “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” (co-directed with Susan Froemke), and 2015’s searing “Cartel Land,” an immersive, bone-rattling film embedded on the front lines of the drug cartel war in Mexico. This year, he brings “City of Ghosts,” to Park City, which could be described as “ ‘Cartel Land’ but with ISIS,” however Heineman’s too sophisticated a filmmaker for that facile comparison.

      Full Story: The Playlist

    • Sundance: Documentary ‘City of Ghosts’ Wins Candescent Award

      January 19, 2017

      Matthew Heineman’s documentary “City of Ghosts” has won this year’s Candescent award at the Sundance Film Festival. The Candescent award was created by actress-producer Lilly Hartley in partnership with the Sundance Institute documentary film program. The award goes to a powerful social-issue film that has been supported during production by the DFP and premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.

      Full Story: Variety

    • 17 Sundance Movies We’re Eager To See

      January 19, 2017

      As evidenced by the jaw-dropping footage in “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman is one of today’s most daring documentarians. With “City of Ghosts,” he dares to embed himself with a band of Syrian activists working to combat ISIS.

      Full Story: The Huffington Post

    • Sundance: 13 Must-See Films That Have The Indie World Talking

      January 18, 2017

      “City of Ghosts” is ultimately a story of heroism, documenting the courage of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a group of citizen journalists who risk their lives to bring footage of ISIS’s atrocities in Syria to the wider world. It’s powerful stuff and should factor into the best documentary Oscar race. It could even win the golden guy.

      Full Story: Variety

    • Sundance 2017: The 10 Movies You Need To See

      January 17, 2017

      This year’s documentary slate looks especially promising, with an emphasis on filmmakers responding to current events and no fewer than three ripped-from-the-headlines accounts about the civil war in Syria, including Last Men in Aleppo, Cries From Syria, and this doc about citizen journalists taking on ISIS from Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman.

      Full Story: EW

    • Sundance 2017: The 10 Most Anticipated Films We Can’t Wait to See

      January 16, 2017

      One of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen at Sundance is Cartel Land, an intimate and remarkable look at the tensions along the US-Mexico border. Filmmaker Matthew Heineman established connections with both sides to tell two stories, embedding himself directly into the conflict, and he deservingly won the Best Cinematography award at Sundance 2015.

      Full Story: FirstShowing

    • Our 20 Most-Anticipated Films at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

      January 16, 2017

      Coming off the Oscar-nominated Cartel Land, director Matthew Heineman is returning to Sundance and has once again embedded himself into a vital part of global conflict. City of Ghosts finds the director capturing a group of journalists who were in exile after ISIS took over their homeland in 2014. With the makings of one of the most essential documentaries of the year, hopefully Heineman once again proves himself as an superb visual journalist.

      Full Story: The Film Stage

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