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THE LIONS OF ROJAVA - LEGENDS OF THE LEVANT
By William Colby

GENRE: War, Drama
LOGLINE:

Armed with self-determination and an unwavering sense of commitment and purpose, a group of fearless, rogue warriors gathers in the Northern Syrian province of Rojava to protect and defend the fiercely independent Kurdish people from ISIS forces, treacherous dictators and governments, and other international threats.  

SYNOPSIS:

Fight for your tribe, for your culture, your land, or your country. Wait! What’s this strange, dangerous place? What language are they speaking? Why do they want to kill me? Why am I even here in the first place?

From the headlines on CNN, Fox, the New York Times, and local newspapers from cities near and far, a strange story emerges about a group of rogue warriors, fighting on behalf of a threatened people in one of the most dangerous places in the world. This story is amazing on many levels and is a true psychological profile of human motivation and behavior. A grand story on a truly global scale, THE LIONS OF ROJAVA introduces us to these fearless warriors from across the world who arrived in the Northern Syrian province of Rojava to fight on behalf of the Kurdish people.

THE LIONS OF ROJAVA - LEGENDS OF THE LEVANT

THE CHARACTERS AND THE STORY:

He just doesn’t play well with others. The sandbox just isn’t big enough. He has an aversion to authority, routine, and social order. He is a restless spirit with a burning desire to change the world around him. He won’t sit back, blend into the background, and conform to the huddled masses. He is …rogue. And he is our storyteller. This is a character-driven story. It is told by a cast of malcontents with unique and amazing motivations, psychological and social needs.

These real-life characters must have incredible psychological profiles and backgrounds – aversions to authority, fiercely independent, frontiersmen mentality, rogue warriors. Shedding blood on foreign soil for somebody else’s cause is very different than defending universally held principles of liberty and freedom. This is a very complex human motivation that differs by individual. This cast of characters is diverse and not always congruous with the same purpose or strategy.

FADE IN:

NARRATIVE: One by one, these ancient cities, communities that have thrived for hundreds, even thousands of years are falling to the destruction of ISIS, Assad, and Putin, leaving behind a post apocalyptic landscape of ruin and devastation.

FADE IN:

We are on an aerial flyover of a city in ruins. Smoke rises from random spots on the horizon, a thick, black, toxic cloud of smoke. We zoom in, flying over the rooftops of a dense metropolitan area. Roads are strewn with debris, burned out buses and cars, knocked over utility lines. We zoom into street level and advance into the city center. Steel re-bar hangs out of building roofs and parapet walls. Windows are blown out and glass litters the sidewalks and streets. Trash, paper, and other debris line the streets. Plaster from the facades of the buildings has been torn away, exposing the underlying cinder blocks.

This is a post-apocalyptic scene. Not a living creature can be seen along these bleak, hopeless, and abandoned city streets. We zoom into a small courtyard, then through a long, narrow passageway. Sunlight peers through random holes in the roof or exterior walls. Still no signs of life.

We continue to travel through the city in ruins, gazing into storefronts, moving over debris and human corpses covered in construction debris, all powdery white, reminiscent of the trail of destruction left by volcanic eruptions in ancient times.

We suddenly stop. We quickly zoom into a long corridor, cut to the right, traverse through a damaged doorframe and stop.

He shivers alone in the corner, fingers at his mouth, gazing out a broken window. His face is ashen with construction dust and punctuated with blood and tears. He is wearing army fatigues, the light camel-desert pattern, and a combat helmet. He holds an AK-47 upright at his side. He looks like he is the last person on earth, a biblical portrayal of the end of days and the great rapture.

You see and feel his raw and simple humanity, his desperation, anxiety, and fear. It is palpable in the expression on his face, his bloody hands, and deliberate breathing. He has just captured your attention, your empathy, and your heart. You want to know his story, how he got here, what he was doing, and how he plans to get out of this predicament, if at all possible.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROTAGONIST

A character carved out of stone. Sometimes it seems that I am hanging on a scaffold hundreds of feet above the ground trying to carve the face of my protagonist onto the granite face of a mountain. I am working in subzero temperatures in gale force winds. The challenge is epic and overwhelming. But this character whose face will be seen for miles and throughout the ages is the backbone to the story. Every detail will be on display in large dimensions. They must be ...flawless.

A Character Profile of Ryan Fisher, Protagonist

BACKGROUND: Why? I am absolutely confounded. What makes him do this? What motivates him to risk everything, travel to one of the most dangerous places in the world, and fight the most vile, ruthless, and unscripted aggressor humanity has ever faced, and for the benefit of another nation, culture, and people?

He travels to an unknown and dangerous place. He doesn’t even know their language or comprehend their culture and the history of their struggles. He has no safeguards, no structured, experienced military unit, and no equipment. Hell, he has never even experienced combat.

Does he have a mental complex, a latent aggressor complex? Is he acting out fantasies derived from external, virtual experiences with video games or movies? Or, maybe he has the classic delusions of grandeur and power. Going to an unstructured combat zone will allow him to achieve social or heroic status, act out his aggressions, and maybe burn off some pent up emotions or energy. These are his behavioral attributes. But there are others like him, traveling to the same place with similar goals. Their motives may vary, but, in short order, they share stated goals.

This is a prime example of the attractive nuisance, an object, experience, or obsession that draws attention and focus of many people, for varying reasons, causing them to act upon their unprecedented desire or attraction. In the late 1970’s, the motion picture Close Encounters of the Third Kind featured such an attractive nuisance. People were compelled to go to this object, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, not fully understanding ...why. But it was important, foreboding, and necessary.

At the end of the day, maybe it is not important for me to understand, completely or in part, his motivations. Maybe that mystery is what will captivate the audience and keep them fully engaged. Nonetheless, I will craft his character with all the mystery, dynamics, internal conflict, and temperament that he needs to undertake the challenges that he will face.

GENERAL: The Protagonist and the actor portraying him have a heavy burden. He must carry the story, the other characters, and the audience. They must believe in him and follow. Everything starts or ends with this character. There is no script, no story, and no development if the lead character, the Protagonist, fails to be developed properly. This is a character-driven story. We view his journey, experiences, fears, reactions, and thoughts from his point of view.

This Protagonist is not your standard issue lead actor and character from casting central. The story he tells, the situations he encounters, and his motives are unprecedented, both in real life and in cinematic history. The psychological profile of the Protagonist is unique, confounding, and alluring.

Unlike any other character I have developed before, the development of the Protagonist involves significant profiling of the real life characters that inspired the story. I will have to specify every detail, right down to his genetic level.

A stunning, real world character emerges from the shadows of war and strife in a dangerous land. A new world freedom fighter, PROTAGONIST is front and center, a pivotal figure in the resistance movements against ISIS in Northern Syria. He is the face of the resistance.

INTERACTIONS: PROTAGONIST is the ambassador figure between the Kurdish people and the Western world. He conveys the plight of the Kurds in their age-old battles against treacherous dictators in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria as well as their recent battles with the ruthless ISIS forces.

SPECIFICS: Damaged goods. Conflicted and contrarian. He just wasn’t cut out for the corporate world, for the common workplace, for timecards and employee handbooks. Complicated and mysterious. We are not sure if he plays with a full deck because he never shows his cards.

The archetype for this character is nonexistent on film. But in real life, there are quite a few examples from history and from the current events in Syria and Iraq.

He thrives in unstructured environments, taking initiative to execute strategies. He is fearless and an extreme risk taker. He is purpose driven and extremely focused once engaged in a mission or goal.

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