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From her childhood bedroom in suburban Chicago, Ala’a, a 19-year-old American girl coordinates the revolution in Syria.
Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and cameraphones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria brave snipers and shelling in the streets to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.
"Alaa Basatneh isn’t the only one conducting this electronic media war – there are many others, who later became sources for more traditional media outlets – but the story of this Syrian girl deserves to have an entire film devoted to her…She represents a generation of strong Arab women, capable of doing a lot for their society and country, when given the chance."
"Basatneh wields technology with extraordinary finesse, mapping out escape routes on Google Maps and pulling together activists from different parts of town using the online powers unavailable to them."
"This absorbing documentary shows how a Damascus-born, Chicago-based teen plays a major role in organizing resistance in Syria with a laptop in her bedroom."
The Hollywood Reporter
"A heartbreaking documentary about a devoted but relatively innocent 19-year-old Chicago student, Ala’a Basatneh, who uses her laptop and YouTube to expose the atmosphere of fear that surrounds Syria’s brutal leader, Bashar al-Assad."
"Piscatella has done something unique with #ChicagoGirl. He has taken a very pressing issue and filtered it through the eyes of the Millennial Generation. Final Grade: A. "
"The Damascus-born, Chicago-raised teen, who has over 5,000 followers on Twitter, has become a revolutionary leader through social media."
"A badass Syrian teenage girl living in the United States decides to use her computer to organize a revolution...Watch this if you have no idea what is happening with all of these uprisings we’ve seen lately, or if you want to feel like shit because you only use your phone to play Candy Crush."
Festival & Awards
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Doc U Award
Amnesty International’s Movies That Matter
Golden Butterfly - Student’s Choice
Giffoni International Film Festival
Napa Valley Film Festival
Special Jury Prize, Documentary
Williamsburg International Film Festival
Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking