Review: Hunger Ward


A cruel conflict in the poorest Gulf country has strafed a culture and its people with the assistance of the US since 2015. In America, it is called the War in Yemen or the Yemeni Civil War. In the Middle East, it is called the Saudi-American War.

It took acclaimed film-maker Skye Fitzgerald eight and a half months to gain permission to enter Yemen to film inside two clinics dedicated to treating the world’s worst famine in 100 years. Not only has the country been bombed back to the ways things were over 100 years ago, the land and sea blockade that keeps food and medical supplies from the people has been dubbed a war crime.

After months of relationship building and planning, Fitzgerald and his crew began filming “Hunger Ward” in a medical clinic in Yemen. On the first day their cameras began filming a starving child they had arranged to follow. But in a painful twist, within a moment the child was lifeless.

Fitzgerald and his crew, perceived as American enemies who provide the reconnaissance and bombs to support the war and blockade to wreak their misery, worked painstakingly to develop relationships and trust with the Yemeni doctors and families chosen to include in the film.

Fitzgerald filmed from two disparate clinics. Though miles apart in different political sectors, the circumstances were the same. Families would travel long distances for the life-saving liquid that might save their child. Through the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation (YRRF), families would also be given a basket of lentils and other items to help them survive the seemingly never-ending siege.

Omeima was a success case. After she arrived her body was laid in a suspended washtub for weighing. At 24 pounds, the 10-year-old girl was listless and unresponsive. But through time and the caring efforts of the staff as well as life-saving donations from around the world, Omeima begins to smile, eat on her own, and show some interest in the children around her.

Witnessing such needless suffering and reporting it, is sometimes all a journalist can do. But Fitzgerald, a Fulbright Research Scholar, is a humanitarian documentarian who walks his talk through working with the US Institute of Peace, the State Department, Mercy Corps, CNN, and the Paul Robeson Fund. This is his third film in his humanitarian trilogy. The first two, “50 Feet from Syria,” and “Lifeboat,” were about doctors working on the borders of Syria and the rescue of boat people off Libya.

Currently Fitzgerald has teamed with Dr. Aisha Jumaan, who heads up the YRRF, to get food past the blockade and into the two clinics serving starving children. Ironically, a way has been found, for the right price, through Saudi Arabia.

The Biden Administration has asked Dr. Jumaan for 25-minute briefing and made some promises, including extricating the US from involvement in the blockade and Yemeni War. But policies move slowly and the need for food is immediate.

Fitzgerald has captured a remarkable record of the courage and strength of clinic workers like Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Mekkia Mahi, recording their victories as well as their grief and despair. Currently on a schedule of interviews and screenings, Fitzgerald is doing all he can to get our attention and raise money to help the most innocent and helpless of our time.

HUNGER WARD trailer from Spin Film on Vimeo.


Director: Skye Fitzgerald
Executive Producers: Jody Allen, Ruth Johnston, Matt Milios, Jannat Gargi, Mekkia Mahdi, Hayley Pappas, and Matt Ippolito
Producers: Michael Scheuerman and Skye Fitzgerald
Featuring: Dr. Aida Alsadeeq, Omeima Essa Salem Abdullah, Nurse Mekkia Mahdi, and Abeer Otham Thaneb
Editor: Dan Sadowsky
Original Score: William Campbell
Director of Photography: Jeffrey Ball
Website and how to view:
Get Involved:

. . .

Join us on Facebook at!

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Bev Questad #

    Skye Fitzgerald’s HUNGER WARD has been nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film is now streaming on Pluto TV.