Four Syrian teens who arrived in Vancouver as refugees and received resettlement support from ISSofBC are starring in a short film “Rupture” that will be shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival Oct. 3 and 10.

Asaad Al Arid, Salam Almarzoug, Hussein Al Ahmad, and Wazira Al Ahmad made their acting debut in the 19-minute film about four Arab teens on a quest to find a public pool in their new Canadian home. Their own personal experiences supplemented by acting workshops prepared these first-time actors for their roles.

“Merging the stories of their newfound lives in Canada with their difficult memories from the past into a fictional structure…(was) a meaningful ride for both cast and crew,” said director Yassmina Karajah, adding, “(it was) a cathartic process where cast members were able to express feelings connected to real life experiences of death, war and hope, in a safe space without feeling exposed.”

The experience proved to be profound for the four Surrey-based teens, but especially for Hussein who, after working on Rupture, started experimenting in making his own short films and now wants to become a director.