Oscar-nominated film goes underground in Syria -- literally

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Image: National Geographic. Used with permission.

For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as The Cave. It's a health-care facility close to Damascus, Syria, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleagues have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts. They do their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above ground.

A film about this unusual health-care facility was released in 2019, directed by Feras Fayyad. It was a 2020 nominee for an Academy Award for best documentary feature. Fayyad's intimate portraits of the brave, tenacious hospital staff emphasizes the camaraderie that buoys morale when circumstances are at their worst. There are many scenes in The Cave that can break your heart, yet the film leaves us, above all, with a powerful sense of the profound resilience, dedication and love that endures in the midst of staggering hardship.

Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, The Cave paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity.

Peter Albrechtsen was the sound designer who had the unique challenge of recreating the sense of the underground hospital in sound. He talks to David Peck about his work on The Cave, the sonic landscape, fragility and fear, Syrian women in leadership, strength and resilience, and sound as a storyteller.

About Peter Albrechtsen:

Nominated for the MPSE Golden Reel Award for sound design, Peter Albrechtsen is known for his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Idealisten. He is a sound designer based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and graduated from the Danish Film School in 2001, and since then has been working on features and documentaries, both Danish and international productions. He has worked in Israel, Bulgaria and on several US indie film productions, in addition to all of his Danish and Scandinavian work. This year, Peter was invited to become a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Image: National Geographic. Used with permission.

F2F Music: David Peck and Face2Face.

For more information about David Peck's podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

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