Hatem Ali Dies: Syrian Film & TV Director Was 58

Tom Grater
·1 min read

Hatem Ali, the Syrian filmmaker and director of hit TV shows, has died at the age of 58, according to multiple local news reports citing family confirmation.

Ali graduated from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus in 1986 before first moving into acting and then into directing in the 1990s.

More from Deadline

He was noted for helming works that depicted Arab history, such as his 2000 three-parter Al-Zeer Salem, as well as his projects about Muslim conqueror Salaheddin and the rise and fall of Muslim Andalusia.

His 31-episode drama The Palestinian Exodus (Al-Taghreba al-Falastenya), shot entirely in Syria, told the story of how some 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes during the creation of Israel.

On the feature side, his 2009 pic The Long Night, about three political prisoners who are released from a Syrian prison after a long time and try to adjust to freedom, debuted at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2009 and won a special mention at the Cairo International Film Festival the same year.

Among his most recent work was the series Once Upon A Time (Aho Da Elly Sar) which is available internationally on Netflix.

In 1990, he married Syrian writer and human rights activist Dalaa Al Rahbi, with whom he had two sons.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.