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Featuring jaw-dropping you-are-there footage of a remarkable ordeal

SydneysBuzz The Blog

7 Oct 2019

This documentary not only grips the audience in fear and excitement, but it transmits an energy to the audience in a way I have not witnessed before. This energy is brought to the forefront by the vivid descriptions of the ordeal as related by the two Omars.

Making its World Premiere at GFF, Marco Orsini’s Beyond The Raging Sea follows the harrowing tale of two Egyptian adventurers, Omar Samra and Omar Nour (affectionately known as O2), as they take on the world’s toughest row, an unsupported, perilous 3,000 nautical mile journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua. The extreme journey is part of an annual ocean-rowing race called the Atlantic Challenge. They didn’t make it.

Eight days, and 500 miles into their journey across the Atlantic, Team O2 was hit by 45 knot winds and towering waves that caused their boat to capsize — their boat did not self-right as it was meant to do.

All the limitless intensity of an Atlantic storm, a tiny boat against the elements, a decision made without knowing precisely how bad it can get out there, in the middle of nowhere, with waves that seem to reach an ink-black sky. A thought, maybe the last, to what has been left behind, to the loved ones, to what if they hadn’t decided to push their luck so far...

This was a pivotal moment for Omar Samra and Omar Nour; the moment in which what started as yet another challenge to explore their own limits became the beginning of a completely different journey of discovery, of human understanding.

The 12 hours that followed their boat capsizing, deserted and floating in the rough seas in a small rubber raft before they were rescued by a cargo ship which re-routed in answer to their mayday call, became a survival story of epic proportions.

Team O2 dedicated to raising awareness of the global refugee crises in an ironic twist, suddenly had to face the same dangers, terrors and decisions of those they meant to recognize and relieve.

How many good men, women, and children have passed away crossing the sea, fleeing persecution and misery, hoping to build a better future for themselves and their families?

In 2018, six lives were lost on average in the Mediterranean every day. In a way, this documentary gives a voice to those who have been silenced while looking for safety and protection outside of their borders. It is our duty to tell their story and encourage the international community to exert every effort to put an end to this tragic loss of life — Mr Karim Atassi, UNHCR Egypt Representative.

Director Marco Orsini seamlessly connects the exciting story of the adventure of “the two Omars” on what should have been an unsupported, 3,000-nautical-mile rowing journey from the Spanish Canary Islands to Antigua, with the harrowing description of their life- threatening experience, and eventually with the tragic sea crossings recounted by the ones that barely survived trying to reach Europe — beautiful, moving people to whom the message of the film is entrusted.

Featuring jaw-dropping, you-are-there footage of a remarkable ordeal and rescue at sea, Beyond the Raging Sea is the gripping account of that experience narrated by those who lived it, capturing what they endured, what they felt and what it meant.

Nour and Samra are world-class athletes. Omar Nour is the first Egyptian professional triathlete in history. He represents his country on the Olympic triathlon circuit and is the fastest Arabic-speaking triathlete in the world. Omar Samra is an adventurer, mountaineer, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and future astronaut. He is the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest and the 7 Summits and ski to both the Geographic South and North Pole (The Explorer’s Grand Slam).

When we first decided to partner with the Omars it was because they not only represented some of our own values of can-do and passion, but because their cause — the plight of refugees in need, is something that a global company like DHL cares deeply about. This film, which documents their incredible journey, brings this story of bravery and rescue to life but, more than that, it gives a voice to thousands who are unable to speak on an international stage. We are incredibly proud to be a part of that. - Ken Allen, CEO of DHL Express.

Beyond The Raging Sea is a collaboration by DHL, The United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNDP & UNHCR) and IEFTA, and directed by Marco Orsini.

The Cairo-based MAD Distribution handles the film’s distribution across the Arab world (MENA — Middle East and North Africa). It has no international sales agent.

Marco Orsini is an award-winning writer, director and producer. His films have screened at Tribeca and Sundance among other prestigious festivals. He is the president of the International Emerging Film Talent Association of Monaco, and is actively involved in film education and development in emerging countries. He is known for his documentaries The Reluctant Traveler (2009), which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Jacksonville Film Festival; Dinner at the No-Gos (2012), which won the Award of Excellence for a Feature Documentary at the 2012 Accolade Global Film Competition; as well as his biographical documentary Gray Matters (2014). Orsini’s work is famous for combining entertainment and engagement with education and advocacy.

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