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Ten days on, still no news on missing Syrian producer Orwa Nyrabia

The Toronto International Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, French producer and directors body L’ARP and director MartinScorsese join chorus of concern for missing producer.

The film and documentary world have stepped up calls for the release of Syrian producer Orwa Nyrabia, who is believed to have been arrested by local security services following his unexplained disappearance from Damascus airport ten days ago.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) said in a statement it was,  “extremely concerned by his arrest – film-makers must be allowed to express themselves without fear of reprisal.”

From France, the producer and directors body L’ARP, the Cannes Film Festival, the Cinémathèque Francaise, the writers guild SACD and the multimedia union Scam issued a joint statement calling for his release.

“Orwa Nyrabia belongs to a young generation of Syrian cineastes and cinephiles, who love cinema from around the world and freedom. His arrest worries and outrages us,” read the statement.

Director Martin Scorsese has also lent this voice to the campaign saying in a statement: “‎”I was alarmed by the news that the Syrian actor and producer Orwa Nyrabia has been arrested by the Syrian regime, held in an undisclosed location and denied any communication with the outside world, including his own immediate family.”

“The international film community must remain vigilant, and shine a light on every injustice perpetrated against our fellow artists. We need to maintain pressure to ensure the immediate release of Orwa Nyrabia,” it continued.

From the documentary world, Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock Tweeted a message of support for Nyrabia over the weekend, calling on followers to spread the word on his arrest.

Nyrabia, 34, was reported missing by his family on August 23 after he disappeared at Damascus airport where he was due to have boarded a flight for Cairo.

“According to Egyptian Airlines, he did not board the plane, which indicates that he was arrested by the Syrian authorities at the airport,” his family explained at the time.

Sources close to Nyrabia’s family say there is still no news on his whereabouts.

Nyrabia, who studied film production in France, is the co-founder of Damascus-based production company Proaction Film and the documentary-focused DOX BOX Film Festival alongside Diana El-Jeiroudi.

The pair are respected figures in the Arab filmmaking community and beyond for their tireless efforts to produce and promote Syrian cinema at home and abroad.

Nyrabia’s family and friends have set up a facebook campaign in support of the producer entitled: Freedom for Syrian Cinema, Freedom for Orwa Nyrabia.

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