Growing up in Gaza in the dark

“Growing up in Gaza in the Dark” for NBC Left Field.

What’s it like growing up under Israeli blockade in Gaza? Watch our film on a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who wants to be the next Michael Phelps.

Director, camera and editor: Matthew Cassel
Assistant Producer: Amjed Tantesh

A Bitter Eden

A Bitter Eden” for The New Yorker magazine

The fighting in the Raqqa has ended, but the people who fled ISIS’s control of the Syrian city are still unsure when they can go back. Some have traveled to Europe, but many more have sought refuge closer to home. In Yamouni, a small Lebanese village not far from the Syrian border, there are a few hundred Raqqawis who live in camps and work in the farmlands as they eagerly wait for the first opportunity to return to their homes.

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Victims of Torture

For this assignment, I was asked by Médecins Sans Frontières to film profiles of two people who receive treatment from MSF’s Victims of Torture unit in Athens, Greece.

Directed, produced, filmed and edited by Matthew Cassel

Fleeing Iraq, stuck in Greece

Najwa is an Kurdish-Iraqi mother from Mosul. After ISIS occupied her city and killed her Arab-Syrian husband for his “illegitimate” marriage to a Kurd, she fled Iraq with her three sons, two of whom have severe disabilities. They spent more than a year surviving on the streets of Istanbul, before gathering enough money to pay smugglers to come to Greece. I met them on Lesbos island in early 2017. They’ve since moved to Athens, but they’re still hoping for the chance to go to another European country to get better healthcare for two of the boys who desperately need it.

I made this short video on the family for friends who run the website

The Journey

For 31-year-old Aboud, seeking asylum in Europe is the only way the Syrian father can reunite with his wife and two children. The only problem is getting there. I spent one year with Aboud as he set out on a grueling and uncertain journey from Istanbul to the Netherlands, when he would become one of the pioneers of what would be known as the “Balkan route.” Meanwhile, his wife Christine and their children prepare to leave their home in Damascus for a new life in Europe.

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