Reel Borders studies how borders are imagined through film

Turkey-Syria Border

Ballad for Syria (Eda Elif Tibet & Maisa Alhafez, 2017)

The border of  Turkey and Syria is, currently, the evidence of complex historical and political nature of borders born of colonial empires of the 20th century. The fall of the Ottoman Empire and the agreements of Sykes-Picot (1916) consolidated a border based on economic and political interests which have been object of several grades of securitization, as well as different (forced) migration processes since the consolidation of the border through the Treaty of Ankara (1921) and the most recently ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011). More than 20 border posts define the “permeable border” in terms of geopolitics, but also in terms of social and cultural relations based on the ethnoreligious mosaic of the region. This particular political, socioeconomic and cultural scenario has been the subject of numerous films on both sides of the border which has been dedicated to transborder relations (Hudutlarin Kanunu, 1967; Propaganda, 1999), the creation of borders (Al-Hodoud, 1982), forced migration processes (Little Bullets, 2016; Ballad for Syria, 2017; Daha, 2018), ethnoreligious diversity (The End will be Spectacular, 2019) or political documentaries (During Revolution, 2019), between others. Consequently, the geopolitical and cultural scenario of the region has inspired different film perspectives and gazes based on border-making and representation, everyday relations of othering and rebordering practices.

The Films 

Click the thumbnail below for a detailed look at this case study’s preliminary film selection. Please note that this list is under construction and may be subjected to changes in the near future. If you are a filmmaker working around the Turkish-Syrian border, or have suggestions to further complete this list, please get in contact with

Click here to find out more about the other two case studies: 

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Funded by the European Research Council.
Starting Grant #948278

The Reel Borders logo is designed by Joris Bochman
The Reel Borders website was built by Irene Gutiérrez and Silvia Almenara-Niebla