Experience the powerful story of Matar, as he confronts the harsh realities of the UK's broken asylum system, and fights to rebuild his life against all odds.

WaterBear Original's docu-fiction film is a must-see for anyone interested in social justice. Directed by Bafta-winner Hassan Akkad and starring Ahmed Malek (The Swimmers), this film is a powerful exposé of the UK's asylum system and the discrimination faced by those trying to rebuild their lives in England.

Based on the lived experience of co-writer Ayman Alhussein, this film is a call to action to fight for a more just and equitable world.

  • Hassan Akkad
  • Ayman Alhussein
  • Brook Driver
  • Ahmed Malek
  • Hassan Akkad
  • Anthony Toma
  • Ahmed Malek
    Key Cast
  • Youssef Kerkour
    Key Cast
  • Elmi Rashid Elmi
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    23 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 17, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    Arabic, English
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Hassan Akkad

Hassan is an award winning filmmaker - He was co-director of Netflix’s ‘Convergence’ and producer of BAFTA Nominated Netflix film ‘The Swimmers’ & ‘The Walk’.

He fled Syria after being detained and tortured for his activism and after a three-month journey across Europe, arrived in London where he claimed asylum.

After filming his journey, Akkad was part of the team that made ‘Exodus: Our Journey to Europe’ which won a BAFTA for Best Factual Series in 2017. Hassan’s memoir, Hope Not Fear, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2021.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

"Matar" is a powerful and timely film that sheds light on the challenges faced by asylum seekers in the UK and their struggle to find a sense of belonging in a new and unfamiliar culture. As the director, I wanted to explore the themes of community, connection, and the human cost of inhumane immigration policies through the eyes of a young man trying to build a new life in London.

The film follows the journey of Matar, a charismatic and determined young man who works as a food delivery rider to make ends meet and connect with people in his adopted home. However, his dreams of a better life are shattered when he is arrested by immigration officers.

Through Matar's story, the film highlights the human toll of immigration policies and the challenges faced by those seeking refuge in the UK. By focusing on the experiences of one individual, the film seeks to humanize the broader political and social issues surrounding immigration and asylum.

As a filmmaker who has first hand experience of seeking asylum in the UK, I am inspired by the resilience and courage of the people who lose everything and travel 1000s of miles to rebuild their lives. My hope is that "Matar" will raise awareness and empathy for their experiences, and encourage viewers to engage in meaningful conversations about immigration policies and the importance of community and connection in building a better world.

Thank you for considering our film for your festival, and we look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.