Dreams of Daraa

Hanadi dreams of a safe home for her family, but that means fleeing Syria with her daughters and finding her kidnapped husband in an international whirlwind.

Hanadi looking at road
NETA Presentation
Premiere Date
September 11, 2021
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2022 Portland Film Festival: The Storytellers’ Festival & Conference-Best Documentary
  • Producer/Director

    Reilly Dowd

    Reilly is the director and producer of the upcoming feature documentary, Dreams of Daraa. Shot over four years, it follows the journey of a young Syrian mother named Hanadi and her three daughters—first as refugees in Jordan, then as internally displaced people (IDPs) inside Syria, and ultimately, as asylum-seekers in Germany. In 2018, Reilly and Hanadi Show more testified before experts at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva about the war crimes of the Assad Regime. Reilly’s film has received support from the Washington-based Halcyon Arts Lab, a fellowship for emerging artists with bold ideas of how art and creativity can be forces for social change. She was also 1 of 6 filmmakers selected for the Fledgling Engagement Lab, a yearlong program that supports the social impact campaigns of documentaries focused on issues affecting vulnerable populations. Reilly is a 2013 graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, where she focused her studies on international politics and investigative journalism. Her articles have been published by national news outlets, including Al Jazeera America, ABC News, the Fiscal Times and Inc. She has also worked at SnagFilms (indieWIRE), CNN as well as for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in the Obama White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Reilly is currently living in Los Angeles and pursuing her master’s degree in the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. As part of this, she was awarded one of the school’s most prestigious scholarships from the Anna and Ray Romano Family Fund and had the opportunity to direct her first scripted short film, The Last Ride, which is set to premiere in September 2019. Show less

    filmmaker Juli Vizza

    Juli Vizza

    Juli Vizza is an award-winning producer and editor. They won an Emmy Award for editing the 2002 Winter Olympics at NBC, and has since been working as a producer for nonfiction and fiction film, television, commercials, and music videos. Vizza has produced films that premiered at the Sundance, Berlin, and TriBeCa film festivals, and aired on Showtime and Show more PBS. At Sony Pictures Entertainment, they worked on publicity campaigns for The DaVinci Code for the U.S. and international markets, as well as the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, and other films including Stranger Than Fiction, Quantum of Solace and Angels & Demons. Vizza is co-producing and editing the feature length documentary for PBS, Xmas Without China. Show less

    We fund untold stories for public media.

    Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

    The Film

    In Daraa, Syria, 25-year-old Hanadi dreams of answers. The questions: Where is my husband? How can I get my daughters to safety? Is there someplace to call home? As so many dreams turn to nightmares around her, Hanadi relies on her own wit and bravery to navigate a harrowing four-year, international, wartime journey with her daughters. From refugee in Jordan to asylum-seeker in Germany, Hanadi cares far less for the labels she’s given than she does for peace and justice. The answers she finds along the way lead her to testify at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva about the war crimes of the Assad Regime, playing a role beyond her dreams.