52 minutes, 2016
Director: Thomas DANDOIS (France, UK) and François-Xavier TREGAN (France)
Production : Memento (France), Arte (France, Germany)
In south eastern Turkey, a few kilometres from the border with war-torn Syria, a clandestine network courageously smuggles out ISIS fighters who have decided to quit. For the first time deserters agree to talk about their life subjugated to the Islamic State. Mostly they come from Raqqa, the terrorist group’s political and military capital. These testimonies are very rare since most ISIS defectors hide and never speak to the press. If they surrender to their countries’ authorities they are imprisoned and can only communicate with their lawyers or families. The escape network is organised by members of the Free Syrian Army, and they agreed to demonstrate some of their working methods. By helping defectors escape they hope to expose the lies of ISIS, its cult of violence and its corruption. They are convinced this will deter future candidates for jihad and dry up the valuable recruitment channels.
Thomas DANDOIS is a director, reporter and “journaliste reporter d’images”, graduate of the Institut Pratique de Journalisme in Paris. Franco-British, he has made documentaries around the world. His filmography contains about thirty films, including “Aung San Suu Kyi, la liberté en héritage” (2013), shown on France 5, “Mogadiscio, capitale fantôme”, shown in 2011 on Arte, and more than 15 26-minute features for Arte Reportage including “Tunisie, sur le chemin de la démocratie” which won the FIGRA Best Reportage Award in 2012. Also a writer, Thomas has published “En territoire interdit” and several articles, in particular for the prestigious French magazine XXI.
François-Xavier TREGAN is a reporter and director. Having graduated as a historian, he studied at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales de Paris. He lived in Damascus from 1992 to 1998. Special correspondent in the Yemen for Le Monde from 2011 to 2015, François-Xavier also produces the radio documentary programme Sur les Docks on France Culture. He collaborates with many media such as XXI, L’Express, L’Obs, GEO, Radio Canada, etc. Among his latest films broadcast on Arte: “Roméo et Juliette, un amour de guerre”, shown in 2015, and “Au Yémen, dans les couloirs de la mort” shown in 2014.