Finalist, The Rory Peck Award for Features

Marcel Mettelsiefen (German)

July and August 2013, Syria

Children on the Frontline

ITN Productions for Channel 4 Dispatches

This film gives a voice to the child victims of Syria’s civil war. In two short trips to Aleppo, Marcel filmed with five children whose lives have been changed forever by the war. We hear from Farah, 8, who spends her time looking for shrapnel and red ribbons for her father – an FSA battalion commander – to make bombs and fuses. We see her younger sister Sara, 5, sulking when told she can’t keep the toys she finds in an abandoned apartment. We see older sister Helen, 13, trying to organise a make-shift school for her siblings. And we hear from two young boys – Aboude and Mohammed – with very different attitudes to the conflict and their role in it. 

Watch "Children on the Frontline" (UK viewers only)

Marcel Mettelsiefen was raised in Spain and Germany and started work as a photojournalist when he left school. He has worked for international news agencies in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti. In 2004 he began studying medicine in Berlin. In 2009, he interrupted his studies to go to Afghanistan to work on several photo reportage projects. His photos from that time appear in a book about the controversial airstrike on Kunduz which killed over 100 civilians. Marcel was a finalist for the Rory Peck Award for News in 2013 for his Channel 4 News film, Agony in Aleppo. He has made several films since then. 

Judges Comments

"A moving and beautifully shot portrait of a childhood in just the most extraordinary circumstances…it makes you think that war turns adults into children but also turns children into adults far too soon. It’s a moving, unforgettable piece of work about war.”