Lifestyle

Outerbridge turns lens on doctors in war-torn Syria

  • Bayard Outerbridge

(Photograph supplied)
  • A scene from Aleppo



(Photograph supplied)

Bermudian producer and director Bayard Outerbridge has paid tribute to the medical professionals working in war-torn Syria with his short film Aleppo .

Starring Laetitia Eido, known for her role in the Netflix thriller Fauda, it premieres tomorrow as part of the Bermuda International Film Festival.

It tells the story of a successful Syrian-American doctor who must come to terms with her memories of the Syrian city of Aleppo and the consequences of the traumatic brain injury she incurred there.

Mr Outerbridge said: “Most people prefer to pretend that war zones and refugee camps don’t exist — as long as there’s a wall around them and they’re safe.

“These heroes are cut from a different cloth. They can find themselves on the front lines performing improvised surgeries with limited resources, sometimes by flashlight amid the thunder of barrel bombs.

“Hundreds of doctors have been killed in the war in Syria, their hospitals systematically targeted.

“Many who survive suffer life-altering consequences.”

The film was shot in Brooklyn, New York; Mr Outerbridge said there were some instances of “unintentional realism” experienced by himself and his crew.

During one scene in a hospital, a real life patient burst through the doors bleeding profusely from his chest.

Mr Outerbridge recalled: “We flew Laetitia in from Paris and assured her agent she would be well taken care of — from the accommodation, a waiting gift basket, car service.

“So she arrives on location for the first day of filming, which was an actual functional hospital our executive producer procured for us, and what does she encounter? Right at the entrance as she first walks in a man stumbles past her holding his chest with blood pouring out, a gunshot victim.

“We were mortified but she took it in total stride. We like to think it helped put her in the moment.”

Under his LA-based production company Newbold Harbor Entertainment, Mr Outerbridge collaborated with director and fellow American Film Institute graduate Anthony Grippa on the project. Backing came from Conrad Fischer, a leading medical educator, doctor and executive producer.

A feature adaptation of the short is in the works.

Aleppo plays with the documentary feature A Story of Mezcal, by Bermudian director Antoine Hunt, in Earl Cameron Theatre tomorrow at 6pm. Tickets for both screenings and a gala reception are $18 and available at www.bit.ly/BdaFilms