Born in 1945 in the town of Quneitra in the Golan, Mohamad Malas represents the Syrian cinéma d’auteur. The turmoil and conflict he witnessed while growing up is something that was to play a major role in his later work. After having worked as a teacher in Damascus while studying at the Faculty of Philosophy, Malas received a scholarship to study filmmaking at the VGIK. He returned to Syria in 1974 and soon acquired the reputation of a socially engaged filmmaker. He received international acclaim for his feature and documentary films and won several awards at film festivals around the world. Among his most important films that are themed on personal freedom and oppression are Dreams of the City (1983), The Night (1992), and Passion (2005). His film Ladder to Damascus (2013) premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and was invited for screenings at more than 50 international film festivals. Malas has authored The Dream: A Diary of the Film, a haunting chronicle of life of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. An English-language book titled The Cinema of Muhammad Malas (Visions of a Syrian Auteur), written by Samirah Alkassim and Nezar Andary, presents Malas’ work and gives dimension and humanity to a country currently defined by ruin and catastrophe.