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Film-making crew admit to staging 'Young Syrian hero' viral video

Millions of people worldwide were duped by a video purporting to show a young Syrian boy who heroically rescued a little girl while under gunfire.

A group of Norwegian filmmakers have announced that they were behind the short film clip, which was recorded on location in Malta this summer.

They released it online with the intention of it being presented as real to “spur debate” about young children living in war-torn areas.

"If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope," Norwegian film director Lars Klevberg told BBC News.

“We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta."

Klevberg said he wrote the script after watching news coverage of the conflict in Syria.

"By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that's often used in war; make a video that claims to be real,” he continued.

“We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video."

The film, which received funding from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) and the Audio and Visual Fund from Arts Council Norway, was uploaded to the internet without making it obvious it was real or fiction, the director explained.

The film clip attracted international attention after Shaam Network featured the video on YouTube.

The video had been viewed over five million times in less than four days.

Online Editors