The story charts the journey of a Syrian musician as he navigates the complexities of achieving self-acceptance, when one has been wired from a young age to believe himself defective and condemned. His quest is intensified by the impact of fleeing a war-torn Syria alone as a teenager. This young man questions the definition of ‘being a man’ after being rejected by his father. His Mother, devoted to her son, is too afraid to face her own beliefs and her choice is to instead remain silent. After arriving in England, he creates his alter ego ‘EL Sam’ – the poet, the musician, the performer, his true ideal self…

  • Saman Khan
  • Molly Vandermeer
  • Saman Khan
  • Sam Talo
    Key Cast
  • Keevy Wardhaugh
    Assistant Producer
    Don't You Want Me Baby?, Outsider...
  • Marta Galvez
    Production manager
  • Dhruv Bhatnagar
    Assistant Director
  • Peter Maughan
    Colour Grader
  • Daniel Aminoff
    Sound Designer
  • Mia-Rose Jones
    Sound Assistant
  • Doug Swallow
    Sound Recordist
  • Roberta Bononi
    Chief editor
  • Alexandrine Haeberli
    Assistant Editors
  • Bruna Pias
    Assistant Editors
  • Phee Simpson
    Camera Assistant
  • Joise Copeland
    Director Of Photography
  • El Sam (Sam) Talo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 25, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Birmingham
    United Kingdom
    April 2, 2023
    Birmingham Premiere
  • London
    United Kingdom
    April 22, 2023
    London Premiere
Director Biography - Saman Khan, Molly Vandermeer

Saman Khan is a Chartered Accountant by profession and has extensive experience in the finance industry. Saman reverted to her passion for documentary filmmaking in 2019 and Executive Produced her first Award Winning film Twelve in 2021. Uncaged is Saman’s debut as a Director and Producer.

Molly Vandermeer is an Award Winning film Director, Writer and Producer with extensive on set and Development experience. After graduating from University with a 2.1 in English Literature and History of Art, Molly has gained qualifications from NFTS, the London Film Academy and Met Film School.

Molly has also gained experience in Development at the Ink Factory, ITV New York and Revolution Films. Alongside making her own films and working as an AD, Molly also works for a startup part time, Directing IMBD listed web series’.

Molly’s documentaries have a social activism focus and her dramas are centred around intense, emotional conflicts. Her debut drama 'Twelve' stars Leslie Ash, Duncan James, Ali Bastian and Parvinder Shergill. The film, which is about an Eating Disorder help group, has won multiple awards (including for Best Director).

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Director Statement

We believe that this story is incredibly important as it touches upon complex themes that are notoriously hard to talk about, particularly for a young Muslim man; for example, the film covers topics of mental health, Queer identity, adultery, religion and war. We believe that it is more essential than ever to tell groundbreaking stories about those who have fled war, particularly given the current global climate we find ourselves in. This film is unique as it is chronicled by Sam’s poetry and music and is designed to leave the audience with unanswered questions of Sam’s life and society’s version of morality. Sam explores his sexual identity and gender expression but remains against self-declaration or labelling, all topics that are prevalent for current audiences. He is overridden by an internal conflict of two cultures - his childhood in a conservative Muslim Syria, and the other as an immigrant in the westernised and open society of UK.