Zahra Mackaoui

Future Aleppo


Future Aleppo began with a Channel 4 News video report that was aired in September, 2015, which told the story of a young Syrian boy, Mohamed Kteish, who created a paper model of his city, Aleppo.

After the report was aired, director/producer Alex Pearson of Red Thread Media, contacted Mohamed Kteish with the idea of developing a transmedia project. By then, the family had fled Aleppo and were living as refugees in Gaziantep, Turkey. Since 2015, Alex has worked alongside Mohamed Kteish and his family where they experimented with a variety of accessible technology to explore ways in which Mohamedís model could be utilized as a testament for those who had to flee their home city.

In March 2017, Future Aleppo won the prestigious Sheffield Doc Fest commission, supported by FACT and the Arts Council UK. Director Alex Pearson and producer Zahra Mackaoui travelled to Turkey in April to document Mohamed making his most ambitious model so far. Over one week, they filmed, photographed and used 3D technology to capture the process for a short documentary.

The original 2m x 2m city model Future Aleppo was exhibited at UKís leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc Fest. Alongside the paper model, Sheffield premiered the VR experience. By putting on the glasses, visitors and festival-goers were transported into Mohamedís vision of his city, Aleppo, listening to his recollections of the city and his hopes for rebuilding it in the future.

In October 2017, the Project was awarded a grant from The Arts Council, UK and in January 2017, with the support of UNHCR Turkey and OFID, Future Aleppo travelled to Kahramanmaras camp where we carried out workshops with refugee children. The Project continues to tour across Europe.