A unique combination of war reportage and intimate interviews, Mani’s atmospheric footage from Homs shows the violence and the human suffering in the city at the height of the Syrian army assault in February 2012.
Mani was on assignment for Le Monde as a photographer when at the very end of his assignment he decided to try his hand at video. This film was the result. He went to the Khaldiya district just hours after Syrian forces started a massive shelling campaign. 138 people were killed, mostly women and children. In the following days Mani found himself caught up in an unfolding humanitarian disaster. He recorded the deaths of civilians by sniper, and the attempts to save the wounded in makeshift field hospitals. He also got rare access to an FSA unit, staying with the fighters for over 15 hours as they battled street to street with government soldiers.
One judge said: "Mani went into one of the most dangerous places on earth but never lost his film-makers eye. Because of the amount of time he spent in Homs - and because of his Arabic - he has managed to tell a complete story. There are some exceptional moments - the street fighting, the sniper alley - which he films bravely and with a remarkable sense of framing. It is profoundly moving work"
Two years ago Mani (not his real name) left his job as a primary school teacher in Paris to become a freelance photographer. Since then his work from Syria has appeared in publications such as Paris Match, Le Monde, The Guardian and The Sunday Times Magazine. This year he started working with video as well. Mani is French / Algerian and is based in Paris. He studied Arabic and philosophy in Syria between 1997-2001. He was a primary school teacher for 8 years before deciding to become a professional photographer.