"Braiding the reflections of nine variously affected individuals... David Henry Gerson’s film successfully keeps the big picture and the smaller canvas in conscientious balance, disrupting overwhelming tragedy with more hopeful flashes of invention and inspiration.... Simple and unadorned in construction, “The Story Won’t Die” generously and compassionately observes its subjects’ fevered creative flow without appropriating any of it as its own."
"The Story Won’t Die doesn’t confront the death and subsequent refugee crisis so directly. Instead, it follows artists who left Syria for Europe, and how they use their creativity to make sense of their homeland.... There are rappers, singers, guitarists, choreographers, and illustrators who all make Syria their primary subject... Their art is frequently arresting: they combine traditions to create something new and deeply tragic.
"Shepard Fairey believes that “The Story Won’t Die” will move audiences to greater awareness and understanding of the Syria crisis. “We’ve all seen footage of bombed-out buildings in Syria and statistics, but it’s the individual stories that will make everyone see themselves in the people in this film... It’s our job as artists to push through and see each other for who we are and the film does that really powerfully.”
"Gerson’s documentary is one of several in the festival that ponder the nature of politics and art. In this case it is art and politics in extremis, as it follows the post-exile careers of those swept up in the Syrian diaspora, fleeing the chaos of civil war and the tyranny of a regime where a rapper can be imprisoned and tortured for months for his lyrics."
"What meaning does free expression have for someone in exile? Who is there to see or hear? Where can words and images resonate? How do you make a community in exile? These are some of the questions that the artists ask themselves and that The Story Won’t Die explores."
"One of the films to see is “The Story Won’t Die,” David Henry Gerson’s look at how art can survive under the most dire circumstances, which, in this case, is the Syrian civil war... this doc looks at the lives of rapper Abu Hajar (who was tortured by the Bashar Al-Assad regime) and visual artist Diala Brisly, whose work has been showed at The Met."
Clip of Shepard Fairey ( @obeygiant ) speaking on THE STORY WON'T DIE in conversation with Abu Hajar, Diala Brisly, David Henry Gerson and Peter Debruge.