Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution is a film directed by Matthew VanDyke, and produced by Matthew VanDyke and Nour Kelze. The film is intended to show people around the world who the Syrian revolutionaries are and why they are fighting for their freedom.
Matthew VanDyke began planning the film in Summer, 2012. After a few unsuccessful fundraising attempts due to a variety of factors, he spent over $15,000 of his own money on the film because he believed in the project and understood that a film of this kind was desperately needed for the revolution.
Filming began in October, 2012 in Aleppo, Syria, where VanDyke met Mowya (Omar Hattab). A couple of weeks into filming VanDyke met Nour Kelze, who initially was working as a fixer helping him film others. He soon realized that Nour would be the star of his film and began filming her instead. He was so impressed with her and her abilities as a filmmaker that he made her a producer on the film as well.
Matthew VanDyke is an activist, filmmaker, and North Africa/Middle East expert from the USA. VanDyke graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in Security Studies, but his knowledge was confined to the four walls of a classroom and the pages of his books. To learn firsthand about the region and to make a unique documentary film he spent four years traveling by motorcycle across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. During this four year period, from 2007 to 2011, VanDyke’s adventures took him from the vast reaches of the Mauritanian Sahara desert to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2011, his Libyan friends whom he had remained in contact with since his travels there in 2008, told him about their families and friends being killed by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime as the Libyan revolution began. VanDyke realized that he could not sit by in the comforts of his Baltimore home and watch his friends and their families be slaughtered while he did nothing.
He joined the revolution as a rebel fighter and was captured by Gaddafi’s army during a reconnaissance mission in the city of Brega on March 13, 2011. For the next six months he was a prisoner of war in two of Libya’s most notorious prisons, Maktab al-Nasser and Abu Salim. He was psychologically tortured in solitary confinement, as the Gaddafi regime denied having him in custody reinforcing the popular belief that VanDyke was dead.
On August 24, 2011 other prisoners broke the lock off of VanDyke’s cell, and he escaped with them from Abu Salim prison. VanDyke did not return to America, but instead returned to combat on the front lines in Libya. He served as an infantryman and heavy machine gunner on a jeep driven by his Libyan friend of five years, Nouri. They participated in combat during the Battle of Sirte and only after Gaddafi was killed and freedom for Libya had been secured, did VanDyke return home to America.
In 2012, VanDyke returned to filmmaking. He traveled to Aleppo, Syria to make the film Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution.
On World Press Freedom Day (May 3, 2013), Nour Kelze became the first Syrian to ever win the IWMF (International Women’s Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award. A 25 year old photojournalist, she has been wounded twice on the front lines while photographing the war in Syria.
Nour has been featured in stories on CNN, NPR, and Orient TV and is a rising public figure in the Syrian revolution. She hopes to provide opportunities for other Syrian women to work in the revolution, aware of the positive effects it will have in both the present and future of Syria.
Nour has a degree in Literature from the University of Aleppo, and before the war was working as an English teacher at Shams al-Assil school in Aleppo. Now she has become a journalist and film producer to help inform the world of what is happening to her country. As she says in Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, “I used to wear fancy dresses and high heels. Not anymore."
Ivan Kander (Editor)
Ivan Kander is a filmmaker based in Silver Spring, MD and owner of Lucky 9 Studios. A graduate of George Washington University in Washington, DC, he is the award winning writer, director, and editor of several short films that have screened at festivals across the country, including Baggage, Finding Time, We Were None, and Dying Days. His short documentary, Survive. Recover. Live., was the 2012 recipient of the Sgt. William Genaust Award for documentary excellence from the Marine Corps Heritage foundation.
Several of Kander’s feature scripts have placed in screenwriting competitions across the country. He is an experienced animator, having designed graphic and motion effects for commercial, government, and non-profit clients. Additionally, he is an assistant editor for the website Short of the Week, which highlights some of the best short form content on the internet.