Portal (The)

Directed by: Chadi Abo
Country: Syria, France, Germany
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Fantasy



Sana is a miraculous seven-year-old girl who lives inside a forgotten refugee camp. Because of her special powers, she grabs the attention of many players in the area, including Remy (a French war journalist), the Emir (a leader of a terrorist group that occupies the area), and Aida (a European volunteer and nurse who dedicates her life to help the refugees). Things accelerate when the Emir’s soldiers shoot Sana. That same night, Sana comes back to life with the help of a light ray from a nearby star. She starts to collect dead children after she resurrects their bodies and drags them in the desert to take them away to a safe place. A chase after this little girl, who can speak to the astral objects, begins. Remy, who lost his daughter years back, secretly hopes that she can bring her back to him, while also shedding light on her own story. The Emir has a plan to use the girl to build a militia of undead soldiers, but when Sana refuses to do so, he wants to stop her because she brings back hope to the desperate people of the camp. Even his soldiers start wondering about their faith.

Director’s vision

The Portal is at the cross between three genres: war film, drama, and fantasy. It is one of the genre projects I am developing for some years
now. The war in Syria played an exciting role by slowing me down due to its violent nature; simultaneously, the irony and the cruelty of this war
granted me some ideas to genuinely developing The Portal.
In my story, I will tell poetically and authentically a fable that speaks about children in wartime in a fantasy context. Without using direct visual
/ psychological tools that most war / fantasy films use. I believe I can speak about this tragedy about a country ravaged by a ruthless war,
from a different angle, to give hope and tolerance using powerful visual language and strong storytelling.
My cultural heritage is full of fantasy fables and djinn stories; people love to exchange paranormal mythes. That’s why, as a genre film
enthusiast, I wanted to defend my favorite type, which is sci-fi, while speaking about the Syrian conflict. I tried to use local ingredients with
simple meanings rather than packing up Hollywood spaceships, monsters, and formulas.


Director’s biography

Chadi Abo started a long career in VFX in BUF, and worked on such international productions as MATRIX RELOADED, 300, ALEXANDRE, SPEED RACER, and ARTHUR ET LES MINIMOYS. In 2012, he created his VFX studio (HECAT Studio). He dedicated 22 years to cinema,TV and animation, where he played many different roles from a VFX producer to director. He also wrote many genre films and TV shows. With THE PORTAL, he drew eyeballs to his first feature film as a director. The project grabbed attention in Cannes 2022, when it was featured in both Frontières and Fantastic Seven.


Production Company: MAYANA


Video presentation