Film pays tribute to Lesvos islanders who saved drowning refugees, migrants


A short documentary by a Syrian filmmaker pays tribute to Greek islanders living in a fishing village on Lesvos who have helped rescue refugees and migrants making perilous journeys across the Aegean Sea.

“Ode to Lesvos” tells the simple yet inspirational stories of the people of Skala Sykamnias, who dropped everything to help men, women and children fleeing conflict and poverty and arriving on their shores last year with nothing.

The film, part of whisky maker Johnnie Walker's Storyline initiative, was directed by Talal Derki, whose 2013 “Return to Homs” film was honored at the Sundance Film Festival.

“What they did is a great job. It's a great effort,” Derki said at his production office in Berlin, where he now lives.

“I give them all the respect … They say that a human person, a simple person can do a miracle, they can do what all governments cannot be able to do, so this is the point of the film.”

The film's release comes as world leaders gather at the United Nations, with Syria and the refugee crisis in the spotlight.