Lamya's Poem: Animated film about a young Syrian refugee and poet Rumi set for US release

The film features the voice of Aladdin actor Mena Massoud as the 13th century mystic writer

Lamya's Poem features the voice of Odd Squad actress Millie Davis as the titular character. Photo: WestEnd Films Productions
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The animated film Lamya’s Poem, about a young Syrian refugee who meets 13th century mystic poet Rumi in a dream, will be released in North America next year.

The film, made by Canada's PIP Animation, had its premiere at last year's Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France. It will be released in the US on February 21.

Lamya’s Poem tells the story of Lamya, a 12-year-old girl who comes across a collection of poems by Rumi while escaping the horrors of the Syrian civil war. Lamya soon meets the poet himself in a dream. He is a young man and is himself fleeing the wars of his time. In this fantastical setting, Lamya and Rumi encounter monsters and other perils as they work together to write a poem that will save Lamya’s life, 800 years later.

The annimated tale was directed and written by American filmmaker Alexander Kronemer. It features the voice of Odd Squad actress Millie Davis as the protagonist, and Aladdin’s Mena Massoud is the voiceover for Rumi.

“We were inspired by accounts of displaced Syrians reading poetry and literature in refugee camps to help overcome the trauma of their displacement from home, friends, and family,” Kronemer said, as quoted by Deadline.

“At its centre, Lamya’s Poem is about the magical relationship between artists and their audiences that can cross time and space to help both heal and transcend difficult circumstances. While rooted in loss, the film ultimately is a life-affirming and family-friendly tale,” Kronemer added.

Kronemer is known for focusing on cross-cultural understandings, religious diversity and Islam, having previously directed works including the 2016 film The Sultan and the Saint, and more recently The Great American Road Trip TV mini-series.

Speaking at a virtual screening of the film last year, Kronemer said: "On one level it's a very specific story about a refugee and sheds light on one of the greatest humanitarian crises of this current century. But, more importantly, it's a universal story because all of us at some point in our lives become displaced people ... We leave our homes, sometimes we are forced to leave our jobs, we leave people who we love and sometimes people who we love leave us."

Updated: December 29, 2022, 1:05 PM