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Paralyzed by a Sniper, a Young Syrian Refugee Now Dreams in Virtual Reality

Hybrid documentary 'Bashir's Dream' tells the story of Qusai Bashir Masaama, who was shot in the back by a sniper at 10 years old.

The dreams of a 14-year-old refugee transform into 360° video animations in a hybrid documentary that combines filmmaking techniques to present Qusai Bashir Masaama's story. Now a refugee living in Amman, Jordan, Bashir was paralyzed at 10 years old in his home town of Darayya, Syria by a sniper who shot him in the back while he was out getting candy. In the film, a woman notifies Bashir's father, who picks him up off the road and drives him to the nearest the field hospital.


Bashir's Dream presents the boy's story now, and the challenges he faces, while highlighting his aspirations of playing his favorite game, basketball and traveling abroad to go to school. Filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto and animator Fernando Rodriguez do a dignifying job of presenting Bashir's daily life, hanging out with his brothers, and playing basketball at one of the local courts. He does not go to school, and will need to travel out of the country to receive corrective surgery for his unilateral paresis, but when Bashir starts to talk about his dream of going west, Rodriguez's animations transport the boy into outer space where he can fly, and read from an unlimited library, and touch the rim of a basketball hoop.

"I was very impressed by how full of life and positivity he was amidst his tribulations," Soto tells Creators. "It stuck with me as he recounted his incident with a smile on his face. As if he made peace with his reality. We complain so much on our daily life, I just kept thinking of how ungrateful we may be, and learn so much from this young master. His excitement when we told him to go play basketball for a bit made my eyes water." He trails off. "If I could only have half of his hope…"

Meet Bashir in the full 360° film, below:

Bashir's Dream was produced by the Los Angeles based immersive media company, RYOT. To check out more work by Angel Manuel Soto, head over to his website. And to learn more about Fernando Rodriguez, click here.


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