Hassan Akkad is a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning filmmaker, photojournalist and activist currently based in London. He is an ambassador for Choose Love, a UK-based NGO providing advocacy and humanitarian aid for refugees in Europe and the Middle East, and in April 2020 he signed up to work as a cleaner at his local NHS hospital on the frontline of the Covid-19 epidemic. In May 2020 he contributed to a government u-turn on bereavement support for NHS support staff, and has consistently used his platform to advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees in the UK and beyond.
Akkad was born and raised in Damascus and was displaced from Syria in 2012 following imprisonment and torture under the Assad regime. He filmed his perilous journey to Europe, including the Mediterranean boat crossing from Turkey to Greece, which went on to form the basis of the BBC documentary series Exodus: Our Journey To Europe. In 2017, Exodus was awarded the BAFTA for Best Factual Series. In his acceptance speech, Akkad reminded the audience that while the story of the documentary was his yesterday, it must be remembered that “this is somebody else’s today and tomorrow”. He went on to work as an Assistant Producer on the second series.
Since 2017, Akkad has established himself as a leading voice in arts-based activism, working across TV production, journalism and documentary photography. His credits include the award-winning Channel 4 series Home, and Odyssey, a short film produced in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and British visual artist Marc Quinn. In April 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, Akkad signed up to work as a cleaner at a Covid-19 ward at his local NHS hospital in East London. This work has attracted national and international media coverage, in which he has advocated for the rights of non-British nationals, particularly low-paid key workers working at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. During his work as a cleaner, Akkad has fundraised for Choose Love and Barts Charity, for which he raised over £35,000 towards covid-19 relief.