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By Dave Miller

GENRE: Drama
LOGLINE: The inspiring true story of Qusai Abtini, Aleppo Syria only childhood sitcom star.


“The Aleppan” is the true story of Qusai Abtini, a little boy in Aleppo, Syria who, seeing the horrors of war around him, seeks to give a voice to his and his compatriot’s predicament that no one else will. How? creating a T.V. sitcom in the middle of the most harrowing battlefield on earth. Gathering up his playmates, Qusai tells his friends to “act like adults” in the show, sharing their anxieties, sorrows, concerns, etc., all in the most adult-like way, wearing over-sized adult clothes, and speaking in high-brow adult tongues. The show is shown only on the one cable access channel left in Aleppo, but it becomes an immediate hit. Everything in the city, even the rebels resistance, comes to a stop each week to see the next installment of “Umm Abdou the Aleppan”, where Qusai plays the one of the main roles. Not everyone, of course, is pleased with such levity being brought to what constitutes a humanitarian disaster. Local Aleppo authorities are shocked by Qusai’s glibness, the Syrian powers that be in Damascus put a price on his head, he having dared mock the Al-Assad regime; and Islamic State recruiters try to ensnare him in their propaganda of hate. But Qusai will have none of it. Why, the little boy asks, are so many on so many sides all allied against him, and not the destruction that is tearing his city apart? In defiance, Qusai begins playing the role of not just Abu Abdou, but that of a Hollywood diva, properly combing his hair, preening for photojournalist’s cameras, and giving interviews wearing sunglasses, all in a grand gesture of a little boy thumbing his nose at the most repressive regime on earth. Though in its essence a sad story with a sad ending when Qusai meets the fate of so many other of his friends, “The Aleppan” is a hilarious, hopeful, and heartfelt rendering of the power of youthful imagination in the face of impossible terror.

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