The critically-acclaimed documentary After Spring, executive produced by Jon Stewart, that tells the stories of Syrian refugees will make its national television debut on Friday, February 10 at 9 PM ET/PT exclusively on STARZ.
The documentary feature film, executive produced by Jon Stewart and Chris McShane and directed/produced by Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez, tells the heartbreaking and inspiring personal stories of Syrian refugees and aid workers at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, home to 80,000 people and now considered the fourth largest city in Jordan. More than 50 percent of the camp’s population is under 18 years old and over 5,000 babies have been born in the camp since it opened in July 2012. The Syrian conflict has displaced more than 10 million people, according to the United Nations.
“We’ve all seen the hyperbole and the polemics, and the propaganda about who these refugees are and what these camps are and to see it in its most stark human, objective form is beautiful,” said Stewart. “[Filmmakers] Steph and Ellen found a way to tell the story of the camp, to provide some context for the families’ stories in a beautiful, real and unobtrusive way that is particularly moving and urgent.”
With the Syrian conflict now in its sixth year, millions of people continue to be displaced. After Spring is the story of what happens next. By following two refugee families in transition and some of the aid workers fighting to keep the camp running, viewers will experience what it is like to live in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees. With no end in sight for the conflict or this refugee crisis, its residents must decide if they can rebuild their lives in a place that was never meant to be permanent.
“When we started working on this film three years ago, our goal was to put a human face to the Syrian refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the need for empathy and understanding has never been more urgent,” said the filmmakers. “Today the Syrian refugee resettlement program has been suspended in the United States. We implore everyone to watch this film and spend some time with these two families who are affected by war and are now seeking safety. Every day we were so inspired by their hope, humor and resilience, and are incredibly grateful for their trust in welcoming us into their lives. We are so honored to help share their story with a wider audience, and hope that someday soon, we can return the favor, and refugees will again be welcome in the United States.”
Steph Ching was associate producer and additional editor on the Emmy(R)-nominated documentary, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Her other passions include volunteer work, participating in relief efforts during post-hurricane Katrina and making several trips to Sichuan, China to film testimonies with survivors of the 2008 earthquake. Her grandmother was a refugee at the end of WWII before eventually making her way to the United States.
Ellen Martinez was associate producer on Tested, a feature documentary about educational inequality in the New York City public school system. She served as directors assistant and has worked in the A.D. and production departments for various films in New York City. Martinez has spent more than eight years in the Middle East and lived in Syria for four years.