#ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes on a Dictator (SIFF 2014)

Ala’a Basatneh used to like hanging out at the mall and listening to music – normal teen stuff – before the Syrian revolution began. Now she is responsible for the coordination of protest activities for hundreds of people on the ground in Syria using the power of social media. Meet this fascinating young woman in this very personal documentary that uses interviews and footage shot on the ground in Syria to give a glimpse into the making of a revolution.

Provided Film Synopsis
Armed only with a laptop, a smartphone, and her determination, an American teenager is running the Syrian revolution from her Chicago bedroom. Six thousand miles away from Damascus, 19-year-old Ala’a Basatneh orchestrates an impressive array of social media to coordinate and protect the Syrian protestors from President Bashar al-Assad's oppressive rule of terror, and while she is out of the regime’s reach, there’s no telling when the other shoe will drop. Shot over the course of two years, first-time director Joe Piscatella follows Ala'a as she organizes demonstrations, improvises escape routes, and broadcasts atrocities to global news services—all from her suburban Illinois home. By circumventing al-Assad's media blackout, Ala’a and her social network keep Syria at the forefront of world news, but when the regime begins the widespread bombing of Syrian cities, the activists must decide if the time has come to trade in their computers for AK-47s. Intercutting Ala'a's efforts with footage of Syrian activists on the ground, Piscatella immerses us in the daring—sometimes harrowing—real-time stakes on the front lines of Revolution 2.0.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Joe Piscatella
  • Cast Members:

    • Ala’a Basatneh
    • Aous al Mubarak
    • Bassel Shahade
  • Countries:

    • Syria
    • USA
  • Languages:

    • Arabic
    • English
  • Genres:

    • Documentary
    • Political
    • Show Me the World
    • Social Issues