Private Project

Crossing the Red Line

Cihan and Osman's initial plan to identify and document the reasons why Afghan people become refugees in Turkey changes when Russia attacks Ukraine. Documenting their journey and reversing the route followed by Ukrainian refugees with action cameras, they witness the war, which now approaches its second anniversary, and hear people's stories. They capture a plethora of footage from the chaotic early days of the Russian invasion, footage that has seeped into the fabric of everyday life. Despite witnessing the background of the war and hearing the stories of different people they meet, they believe it is impossible for them to truly comprehend the traumas lodged in people’s memories until an airstrike targets their location while they attempt to reach besieged Kyiv.

  • Cemal Cihan Kırlı
  • Cemal Cihan Kırlı
  • Cemal Cihan Kırlı
  • Nusret Emre Bilgin
  • Vadym Sukliian
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 11 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
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  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Romanian, Turkish, Ukrainian
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Cemal Cihan Kırlı

Born in Ankara in 1989, he completed his education at the esteemed Cinema Department of Marmara Fine Arts University. Then, he began his career as an independent filmmaker. Starting as an assistant cameraman, he gained experience in various areas, including creating TV commercials, music videos, and feature-length films in Turkey. Motivated by a strong passion for independent filmmaking, he took the important step of founding Modi Film Collective in 2017. His main goal has consistently been to craft meaningful stories that truly connect with audiences. "Crossing the Red Line" is Cihan's first documentary feature film.

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Director Statement

"Crossing the Red Line" is a film that wants to show the tough realities of refugees and the pain of war. Originally, we planned to talk about Afghan refugees, but because of unexpected events like Russia attacking Ukraine, we changed our focus to highlight the urgent issues faced by people in the middle of the conflict.

Going into besieged Kiev added danger to our filmmaking. Living with the constant threat of becoming targets, finding shelter during sirens, and seeing the impact of airstrikes firsthand helped us understand the pain etched into the minds of those affected.

We're committed to showing a real picture without making things up. Using action camera footage, initially for notes, became crucial to share the raw experiences of people on the ground. Collaborating with those guiding us from the Romanian border to Kiev added depth to the story, capturing the big changes in their lives.

This film isn't just a documentary; it also wants to spotlight independent aid groups working hard to help those affected by war. We hope the audience will feel inspired to take meaningful steps to support these groups and, in turn, the people in need.

It's important to remember that almost two years have passed since the war began. Even though it is not covered in the news as much, the situation is still dire. In the beginning, people in Ukraine were scared and highly concerned about their future, and the images from that time are significant in that regard. We want to emphasize the ongoing struggles of the Ukrainian people and the need for help. The images from the early, chaotic days of the war remind us of the fear felt by the people of Ukraine. This makes our mission more powerful, urging viewers to acknowledge the ongoing difficulties and take action to help those affected by the lasting impact of war.