(Ashbal, the lion cubs of the Caliphat)

52 minutes, 2017
Directors : Thomas DANDOIS (France, UK) and François-Xavier TRÉGAN (France)
Production : Arte, Memento (France)

They are aged between 4 and 16 ans. In the Islamic State they are known as ashbal, the Caliphate’s lion cubs. These children have spent months in training camps being badly treated and brain-washed, then sent to the front line. After many months gradually getting to know them, the directors were able to gain the confidence of these damaged kids and their families. They agreed to open up. “Ashbal, les lionceaux du califat” is their story.

Thomas DANDOIS is a Franco-British director.
He is principally known for making documentaries around the world. He’s made around thirty films: “Ashbal, les lionceaux du califat” for Arte, “Les enfants de la jungle” (2016) for France 5, “Daesh, paroles de déserteurs” (2013) for Arte, “Aung San Suu Kyi, la liberté en héritage” (2011) for France 5, “Mogadiscio, capitale fantôme” for Arte, and more than 15 26 – minute reports for Arte Reportage, including “Gaza, la grande évasion” (Best Reportage Award at FIGRA 2016) and “Tunisie, sur le chemin de la démocratie” (Best Reportage Award at FIGRA 2012).

François-Xavier TRÉGAN is a reporter / director. Having studied history at the Michel de Montaigne University of Bordeaux and at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, he lived in Damascus from 1992 to 1998. Foreign correspondent for Le Monde in the Yemen from 2011 to 2015, François-Xavier also produced the documentary programme Sur les Docks for France Culture. He also contributes to several magazines such as XXI, L’Express, L’Obs, GEO, Radio Canada, etc. Among his most recent films shown on Arte: “Roméo et Juliette, un amour de guerre” in 2015, and “Au Yémen, dans les couloirs de la mort” in 2014. Their documentary “Daesh, paroles de déserteurs” won the Broadcasting Award France 3 Corse ViaStella at the 2016 PriMed