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FIRST TO FALL is an intimate story of friendship, sacrifice and the madness of war. It bears witness to the irreversible transformation of two friends, and the price they pay for their conviction.
Hamid and Tarek leave their lives as students in Canada and travel to Libya, their homeland, to join the fight to overthrow Mohamar Gaddafi. They pledge to make it to the frontline despite the fact that neither of them has ever picked up a weapon. A second hand video camera becomes Hamid’s ticket to the front where he documents battles to liberate Misrata, a city famous for the ferocity of its citizens. Hamid eventually earns a gun and becomes a full-fledged soldier with an AK-47 in one hand, and his video camera in the other. Meanwhile Tarek joins a training camp and eventually a katiba (freedom fighter battalion) in Misrata. In a battle to liberate Zawya, his hometown, Tarek’s life will change forever.
Two friends abandon their peaceful lives in Canada and return to their home country of Libya to fight in the revolution. Hamid (26) and Tarek (21) have never fired a gun, but in 2011 they run recklessly toward the war, fueled by their hatred of Muammar Gaddafi and their desire to be part of history. Once they get to Libya, their paths diverge immediately – Hamid blazes ahead with fearless enthusiasm, easily fitting into the boyish camaraderie among the rebel forces. Tarek's journey is more introspective and unsure. He's far from a natural-born soldier. Untrained fighters in an unconventional war, these boys risk everything to reach the front lines of battle. For eight months, the cameras document raw moments of personal and breathtakingly dangerous acts of war and sacrifice as Hamid and Tarek join the rebels taking on Gaddafi's army. Director Rachel Beth Anderson captures the chaos and giddiness of revolution, the brutal loss of lives and innocence. Her intimate interviews with Hamid and Tarek chart their descent into war as they discover who they are and what they are capable of. In Tarek's words, “The end of the story is different than what I thought"