The Long Season is a documentary by renowned filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich about life in Majdal Anjar, a Syrian camp in Lebanon. The film takes us inside and shows what daily life is like for those whose lives are postponed and waiting to return to Raqqa.

Currently, there are about 1.2 million Syrians living in Lebanon. In the Beqaa valley, between Damascus and Beirut, there are many camps, sometimes no larger than 100 people. Before the war they came to Beqaa valley every year to work as seasonal labourers in agriculture. When the war broke out they remained in the Beqaa valley. They pay rent to the landowners in order to build tents on their land.   

The documentary focuses on a single camp in a vast landscape of settlements. Through the intimacy of the camera, we are privy to many emotions and circumstances that make people tick. The film is driven by the characters; what they feel, how they move and how they react. We start to care deeply for the characters in the film. We are concerned for the destiny of Maria, the schoolteacher who is caught between following her own goals and obeying her father’s wish for her to go back home to be married in Raqqa. We hold our breath when witnessing the bickering of the two wives of Abu Hussain while preparing a meal and both holding a knife. We are heartbroken when a young man’s love is unrequited and is told by the girl’s father to lay any intention to rest.  

True to his unique camera style of single shot cinema, Leonard Retel Helmrich delved into the lives of the people in camp by living among them as one of them for a year and a half. He shows what daily life is like for those whose lives are postponed. He shows how they adapt to their seemingly hopeless circumstances and through their resilience are able to find hope and enjoy life.

Produced by Pieter van Huystee film & TV 
Running time: 115, 90 and 55 minutes 


From 28 december showing at:

-EYE, Amsterdam
-De Balie, Amsterdam
-Het Ketelhuis, Amsterdam
-Rialto, Amsterdam
-Filmschuur, Haarlem
-Filmtheater ’t Hoogt, Utrecht
-Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam
-Chassé Cinema, Breda
-Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch
-LUX, Nijmegen
-Filmhuis, Den Haag
-Groninger, Forum
-Filmtheater De Lieve Vrouw, Amersfoort


Production company
Pieter van Huystee Film

Co – producing broadcaster


Land of origin
The Netherlands

Leonard Retel Helmrich

Jelle Redeker
Jos Driessen

Pieter van Huijstee

Line Production
Zoe de Wilde
Lotte Gerding
Natasja Möhrs

Camera & Sound
Leonard Re tel Helmrich
Ramia Su l eiman

Sound Design
Ranko Paukovic

Commissioning editor & original idea
Floor Koomen, EO

Dutch distributor
Mokum Filmdistributie
Rieks Hadders

Sales agent
Films Transit, Jan Rofekamp

NL Filmfonds production incentive
Ford Foundation
Creative Europe Media
Mokum Film


Pieter van Huystee Film
Pieter van Huijstee
Donker Curtiusstraat 125
t. 0031 (0)20 421 06 06

Sales and Distribution
Films Transit
Jan Rofekamp
t. 5514 844 3358

(images, stills and screeners)
Public Film 
Rudolf Kats 
t. 0031 (0)20 421 06 06



© Pieter van Huystee Film 2018


In 1995 Pieter van Huystee started his own production company. Since then he has produced many film projects and international coproductions, most of them documentaries with renowned Dutch filmmakers such as Johan van der Keuken, Heddy Honigmann, Renzo Martens, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Boris Gerrets, Renzo Martens and young talented directors. Many of the documentaries and features are screened at festivals all over the world and have been awarded many times.