This Film Screening and Panel Discussion was hosted by the Refugee Hosts International Conference on the 24th October 2019, from 17.00 – 18.30 

Chair: Saiful Huq Omi (Principal, CounterFoto Centre for Visual Arts)

Dr Daniele Rugo (Director, About a War)

Abi Weaver (Director, About a War)

Dr Stefano Fogliata (Screen Writer, Footbalization)

At the end of Day 1 of Refugee Hosts’ International Conference, Without Exception: The Politics and Poetics of Local Responses to Displacement, screened two film extracts: About a War and Footbalisation. The screening was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Saiful Huq Omi, the Director of CounterFoto photography school, and film directors Dr Daniele Rugo and Abi Weaver (About a War) and screen writer Dr Stefano Fogliata (Footbalization).

About a War:

About a War is a feature documentary that explores violence and social change through the testimonies of ex-fighters from the Lebanese Civil War.  Moving through the testimonies of Assaad, a right wing Christian intelligence officer; Ahed, a Palestinian refugee fighter and Nassim, a Communist commander, About a War unpicks the personal motivations, trauma and regret of militiamen who picked up arms during the Lebanese Civil War. With no official account of the conflict, their testimonies build a multi-perspective picture of a crucial turning point in Lebanese history that radically transformed the Middle East.


“Who does not know how to go back home?”. Since their childhood, Louay, Yazan
and Rami used to play together on the football fields in Syria’s Yarmouk Palestinian
camp. With the intensification of the conflict around Damascus, they have taken
refuge in Borj el-Barajneh camp, along Beirut suburbs, where they currently defend
the colour of Al-Aqsa team, the Palestinian team that is the symbol of the camp.
Stefano, Italian researcher and Al-Aqsa player, drives us inside the camp and the daily
life of his teammates. Confined at the margins of the Lebanese society and its football
system, Palestinian and Syrian refugees run after the improbable chance to wear the
jersey of the most famous Lebanese teams.
Footballization is a docu-movie played among Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, where
the football rhythm merges with the daily life stories inside and outside the

Biographies can be found below, in addition to a recommending reading list.

Saiful Huq Omi 

More information coming soon

Dr Daniele Rugo (Director, About a War)

Daniele Rugo is an award winning filmmaker and Reader in Film at Brunel University London. About a War is his latest feature documentary. His research focuses on conflict and sustainable peace and has been funded by AHRC, ESRC and British Academy. He is the author of two monographs, one edited volume and several journal articles. He is an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies at LAU and has been an associate of the American University of Beirut.

Abi Weaver (Director, About a War)

Abi Weaver is an award winning producer/director who has worked across a range of visual media from independent feature documentaries and online shorts through to programming for major UK broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5). Her latest film About a War explores violence and social change through the testimonies of ex-fighters from the Lebanese Civil War. Abi is also a researcher at the University of Surrey working on the voice in the filmed documentary interview through the lens of Levinasian philosophy. She is an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies  at LAU in Beirut.

Dr Stefano Fogliata (Screen Writer, Footbalization)

Stefano Fogliata obtained the Ph.D in Humanistic Intercultural Studies at the University of Bergamo. He was a research fellow at the Institute for Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, where he worked in the fields of anthropology and refugee studies.  His thesis “Who does not know how to go back home? Overlapping narratives of spatio-temporal displacements in Lebanon’s refugee camps” is at the core of the documentary movie “Footballization”, which will be distributed around Italian cinemas starting from October 2019.

Cover Photo: Screenshot from About a War (dir. Daniele Rugo and Abi Weaver) 

Recommended reading:

Davies, D. (2019) Speculative Borders: China Miéville’s The City & the City

Davies, D. (2017) Urban Warfare, Resilience and Resistance: Leila Abdelrazak’s Baddawi

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Shadows and Echoes In/Of Displacement

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) Disrupting Humanitarian Narratives?

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) Palestinian and Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Sharing Space, Electricity and the Sky

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Qasmiyeh Y. M. (2017) Refugee-Refugee Solidarity in Death and Dying

Greatrick, A. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) The Roles of Performance and Creative Writing in Refugee-Related Research