Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows up Cartel Land with another real-life international thriller. With deeply personal access, City of Ghosts is the story of a brave group of Syrian citizen journalists risking their lives to stand up against the Islamic State in Raqqa.


Filmmakers: Matthew Heineman
Country: USA
Runtime: 90 mins
Year: 2017
Format: HD


A real-life international thriller, City of Ghosts exposes a new type of warfare: a battle over ideas, a fight for hearts and minds, a conflict over clicks and views. Captivating in its immediacy, it follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”—a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With astonishing, deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.


"Could be the definitive Syria documentary" ★★★★★ - The Guardian

"One of the most moving portraits of real-life courage you’ll ever see" ★★★★★ - Empire

"A taut, immediate portrait of Syria’s citizen journalist heroes" ★★★★ - Washington Post

"Essential viewing" ★★★★ - Time Out

"Compelling" ★★★★ - The Independent

"A wide-eyed, jaw dropping look at the battle against ISIS" - The Playlist

"Harrowing, haunting, and ultimately hopeful" - Entertainment Weekly

"Remarkable" - Variety


Heineman’s previous film, Cartel Land, was nominated for an Academy Award and won three Emmy Awards after premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won Jury Awards for directing and cinematography. For his work on the film, Heineman also received the DGA Award and the International Documentary Association's Courage Under Fire Award. Previously, he directed and produced the Emmy Award–nominated documentary Escape Fire, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.


Director/ Producer: Matthew Heineman

Editors: Matthez Hamachek, Pax Wasserman and Matthew Heineman

Music: Jackson Greenberg and H. Scott Salinas

Co-Producers: Juan Camilo Cruz, Matthew Hamachek, Joedan Okun and Maya Seidler

Executive Producers: Alex Gibney, Molly Thompson, Maiken Baird, Dvid Fialkow, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Stacey Offman and Robert Sharenow


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in
Documentary - DGA 2017

Candescent Award - Sundance Film Festival 2017

Politikens Audience Award - CPH:DOX 2017

Grand Jury Prize - Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

Courage Under Fire Award - IDA 2017

The Unforgettables - Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2017

Nominated - Best Documentary - BAFTA 2017

Nominated - Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking - Emmys 2018

Nominated Best Cinema Documentary - The Grierson Awards 2018



Sundance Film Festival 2017

CPH:DOX 2017

Tribeca Film Festival 2017

HotDocs 2017

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

Melbourne International Film Festival 2017

DOC NYC 2017