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FRT alumna goes in search of missing sister in award-winning documentary

5 April 2023
On April 1, My Maysoon premiered at the Movies that Matter festival. In the film, Syrian Batoul Karbijha, a former student of the Faculty of Religion and Theology of the VU, searches her sister Maysoon, who has been missing since fleeing her homeland by boat. Batoul explains why she made the documentary.

"My Maysoon is a personal story about my sister Maysoon who went missing in the Mediterranean Sea on August 24, 2014. Her body has never been found and identified, in the film I show how that affects me and my family. 

"I made the documentary because I realized that our deep pain, after years of missing my sister, prevented us from talking about her. To break this silence about Maysoon and bring back the memory of her, I went looking for her. The search led me to Italy, Tunisia and Libya, where I faced many difficulties, ignorance and indifference. 

"In addition to honoring my sister, I also want to show the world behind the thousands of refugees who go missing at sea with the film. I hope to raise awareness that no one should be forced to travel in this life-threatening way. Refugees should no longer be treated as media material, but really helped. 

"I hope my film can change the way countries deal with bodies of refugees, including the missing. Now people are buried without identification, while families are left living in uncertainty. It would mean a lot to them if countries tracked down missing refugees and brought them into contact with each other. At least that can bring some peace to the hearts of parents, sisters and brothers. And in the end, I also hope that this film will be watched by people who can help me find Maysoon."

In addition to the Movies that Matter festival, My Maysoon has been selected for the Porto Femme International Film Festival and the Hollywood Arab Film Festival (HAFF). At the Toronto International Women Film Festival, the film was awarded best documentary in the Human Rights category.

On May 8 My Maysoon screens at Rialto VU, and on June 15 on national television (NPO2).