‘Syrian hero boy’ video a fake; Norwegian filmmaker behind it

‘Syrian hero boy’ video a fake; Norwegian filmmaker behind it

[Ed. – So, the good news: if you haven’t seen it, you don’t need to waste your time.]

Lars Klevberg, a 34-year-old film director based in Oslo, wrote a script after watching news coverage of the conflict in Syria. He says he deliberately presented the film as reality in order to generate a discussion about children in conflict zones.

“If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope,” he said. “We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator,” Klevberg said. “The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta.”

Were they comfortable making a film that potentially deceived millions of people? “I was not uncomfortable,” Klevberg said. “By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.”

In fact the film received funding from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) and the Audio and Visual Fund from Arts Council Norway in October 2013. The filmmakers say their application for funding made clear they wanted to upload the film to the internet without making it obvious it was real or fiction.

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