National Geographic Goes Inside ISIS This Fall in Powerful New Drama THE STATE

National Geographic Goes Inside ISIS This Fall in Powerful New Drama THE STATE

National Geographic announced today its powerful new drama THE STATE, which explores and confronts one of the most important issues of our time. The series, from renowned writer/director Peter Kosminsky, is set to premiere in September around the world on National Geographic, excluding the U.K. (Channel 4) and France (CANAL+). THE STATE premieres as a two-night miniseries on Monday, September 18 & 19 at 9:00 PM.

A compelling fictional story based on extensive research, THE STATE follows the experiences of four young British men and women who have left their lives behind to join ISIS in Raqqah, Syria.

Sam Otto (Collateral), who plays Jalal, is following in his older brother's footsteps in deciding to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS and has persuaded Ryan McKen (Bancroft, NW), who plays his best friend, Ziyaad, to accompany him. Ony Uhiara (Law and Order) plays single mother Shakira, who arrives in Syria with her nine-year-old son, Isaac, is determined to bring her skills as a junior doctor to the aid of the Islamic State; and Shavani Cameron (Youngers, Homeland) plays teenager Ushna, who has left her family behind to fulfil what she sees as her religious duty after being radicalized on the internet.

As they experience more of the realities of life in Raqqah, witnessing horrific atrocities carried out by the regime and the bloody aftermath of air strikes, their journeys diverge into disillusionment and despair, on THE ONE hand, and increasing commitment to the Caliphate, on the other.

Peter Kosminsky says, "ISIS and its adherents have caused pain and suffering the world over. But unless we understand why some of our young men and women chose to give up the lives they were living and travel to Syria and why men and women born and brought up in our liberal democracies opt to lay down those lives in its name, how can we ever hope to combat its nihilistic creed? Based on detailed and extensive research carried out over many months, THE STATE is an attempt to grapple with these questions and to address through drama one of the most troubling issues of our age."

Peter Kosminsky's most recent drama, WOLF Hall, earned a string of awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Television Series and a BAFTA for Best Drama Series, as well as the Leading Actor BAFTA for Sir Mark Rylance's depiction of Thomas Cromwell's rise to power through Henry VIII's royal court. Peter Kosminsky's previous dramas include The Government Inspector (starring Sir Mark Rylance), a powerful factual drama about the Iraq dossier row and the subsequent death of Dr. David Kelly, which won a Best Drama BAFTA; Britz, about a British Muslim family who are pulled in radically different directions in post 9/11 Britain, won a BAFTA for Best Drama Serial; The Promise, a love story set against the backdrop of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, was BAFTA and RTS nominated.

Episodes Include:

The State - Series Synopsis

A powerful, new four-part drama from renowned writer/director Peter Kosminsky and a compelling fictional story based on extensive research and first-hand accounts, THE STATE follows the experiences of four British men and women who have left their lives behind to join ISIS in Raqqah, Syria. In an unflinching depiction of the realities of life under ISIS, THE STATE provides a deeply authentic drama through which we are able to explore and confront one of the most important issues of our time.

The State: Part One

Premieres September 18, 9PM

Four young British male and female ISIS recruits are excited to begin their new lives in Syria. Jalal and Ziyaad enjoy the male camaraderie as they are trained and equipped for battle, while Shakira and Ushna are taught the strict rules women must obey. They take oaths of ALLEGIANCE to ISIS, convinced they have made the right decision to come, but are soon confronted by the harsh realities of life under ISIS, which do not match their expectations.

The State: Part Two

Premieres September 18, 10PM

The recruits are forced to reflect on their new lives in THE STATE. Jalal and Ziyaad experience bloody FRONTLINE battle while Shakira witnesses the horrifying aftermath of a barrel bomb, and Ushna is shocked at the brutal treatment of women. Shakira must persuade a dangerous commander to overcome ISIS rules and allow her to work in a hospital, and Jalal has a conversation, which makes him question the whole rationale for his journey to Syria.

The State: Part Three

Premieres September 19, 9PM

Marriage to a foreign fighter proves challenging for Ushna, but she is determined to make it work. Shakira, too, must marry to continue working but turns down a proposal from Abu Akram with brutal consequences. Jalal is horrified by the treatment of young Yazidi women being sold as SEX SLAVES and buys a mother and daughter, Ibitsam and Narin, to rescue them. He and Ziyaad are sent back to the frontline, where a commander is calling for the ultimate sacrifice.

The State: Part Four

Premieres September 19, 10PM

Jalal is given a new role by ISIS and witnesses barbaric punishments and mock executions to feed its propaganda machine. With the noose tightening around him, he decides to risk his own safety to help Ibitsam and Narin escape. As Ushna's commitment deepens, Shakira's concern that Isaac is being readied for FRONTLINE battle makes her contemplate the unthinkable - whether there is any way out of THE STATE.

THE STATE is produced by Archery Pictures for Channel 4 and National Geographic Channel. It was developed by Channel 4 and commissioned by Head of Drama Beth Willis. The executive producers are Liza Marshall, Kris Thykier and Peter Kosminsky. For National Geographic Channels, Carolyn G. Bernstein is Executive Vice President and Head of Global Scripted Development and Production.

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