May Abdalla & Elhum Shakerifar
May Abdalla & Elhum Shakerifar

Elhum Shakerifar & May Abdalla


November 2014 – March 2015

Creative Producer Elhum Shakerifar and film maker May Abdalla are joining the Platforms scheme to develop the online immersive experience for their documentary Cold Rush.

Elhum Shakerifar is a creative producer who has worked across a variety of disciplines, including film, photography and music. Recent producing credits including award-winning features including The Runner (Saeed Taji Farouky, 2013) and The Reluctant Revolutionary (Sean McAllister, 2012) and The Grey Line (Jo Metson Scott, 2013) named one of TIME, Guardian and Telegraph’s top photobooks of 2013. Elhum is also a former programmer of Bird’s Eye View Film Festival (2012-14), which centres on women in film.

May Abdalla is a documentary film maker who has worked internationally making films for the BBC, Channel 4 and Al Jazeera. As half of Anagram, she writes and produces immersive documentaries that bring physical experience into screen narratives. Examples of this include Now is the Time to Say Nothing, which asked participants to become protagonists in a documentary about making contact with Syria, installed at the Young Vic Theatre in London and Door Into the Dark, a blindfolded sensory journey for one, which premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2014. Previously to setting up Anagram she worked on developing alternative reality games at BBC Current Affairs and consulted for BBC World Service on a series of interactive projects.

The Plunder

Syria has, over many millennia, been home to diverse cultures and ancient kingdoms, including prehistoric tribes, Islamic societies, European crusaders, Persian merchants and the Abbasid and Ottoman Empires. Lying at the centre of the Fertile Crescent, where human first settled to build communities over eight centuries ago, Syria contains the origins of human civilization. Yet as war ravages the region fighter groups have funded their activities by plundering these historic sites in order to sell coveted antiquities via an illicit global trafficking network. Satellite images of the ancient city of Apamea, located in Syria and founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, reveal the intensity of the looting activities. The business is so thriving that it is now the second source of ISIS’s funding.

Plunderama is an investigative documentary and open sourced physical exhibition that traces the journey and stories of five smuggled objects and allows people around the world to reproduce them using a 3D printer.

Militia groups vying for the region’s future are destroying the traces of its inspiring past, which reveal a multi-ethnic coexistence, feats of incredible engineering and early expressions of human art. Plunderama seeks to revive the stories of who we have been and who we can become while deftly sucking the wind out of the sails of an grotesque trade by making the objects they value inimitable replicable.



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