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From Baghdad to The Bay is a documentary that follows the journey of an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the US military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, tortured by the U.S. and ostracized from his family and country, Ghazwan Alsharif struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay man.

Filmmakers


Director/PRODUCER/CINEMATOGRAPHER

Erin Palmquist is an independent filmmaker in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked for Lucasfilm, Actual Films/National Geographic Explorer and PBS. She was the producer, editor, and director of photography for BDSM: It’s Not What You Think! which premiered at the San Francisco International Frameline32 Film Festival in 2008 before traveling the world.  She was the director of photography for Anthony Palombit’s film Out on the Dance Floor, also an official Frameline32 selection. Alongside From Baghdad to The Bay, she is currently director of photography on 5 Blocks, a feature length documentary chronicling the revitalization of the Central Market Street neighborhood in San Francisco, and is serving as producer and director of photography for the documentary shorts series Oakland Originals.

www.erinpalmquist.com


PRODUCER

Jack Walsh is an Emmy Award-winning producer of the documentaries And Then One Night: The Making of Dead Man Walking and Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria. Among his other producer credits are Hope along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay and Girl Trouble. A former executive producer at San Francisco public television station KQED, Jack is the recipient of numerous awards for his films among them three Golden Gate Awards from the San Francisco International Film Festival and his productions have received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Pacific Pioneer Fund, and most recently The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer, was his documentary directorial debut, which premiered in the Documentary Panorama at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, 2015, and has been screening around the globe since then.


EDITOR

Eli Olson is an Emmy Award winning film editor with a unique storytelling ability. Her extensive experience reaches into the feature film, documentary, non-fiction broadcast, and commercial realms. Eli won an Emmy for her work on “My Flesh and Blood” for HBO Films, which also won an Emmy for Best Documentary, and the Audience Award and Best Director Prizes at Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, Eli co-directed the documentary “’Stories from Tohoku” about the courage and strength of the survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. “Tohoku” won a Jury Prize at the 2014 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and was featured on PBS.  Other 2014 editing projects include “Heaven Adores You”, a documentary on singer Elliott Smith featured at San Francisco International Film Festival, and “3 Still Standing”, a documentary about the rise and fall of three San Francisco comedians.  “Standing” was featured at the 2014 Mill Valley Film Festival. In 2015, Eli edited “The Nine”, a non fiction feature by acclaimed photographer Katy Grannan, and “Saving Eden”, a documentary by Oscar winning director Bill Couturie. Eli also edited the feature films, “And Then Came Lola,” a comedy, and “Mrs. Menendez” a feature length documentary for A&E Films. Other non-fiction television credits include “Sam Cooke: Crossing Over” for PBS’ American Masters, “Amelia Earhart” and “The Boston Strangler” for National Geographic, “True Life” for MTV,  “Sports Wives” for A&E, and “Rocket Dogs” for Animal Planet. 


Advisor/Consultant

Frances Reid has been producing, directing, and shooting documentary films for over 30 years. Her most recent production, with Deborah Hoffmann, was Long Night’s Journey Into Day: South Africa's search for Truth & Reconciliation. It won the Grand Jury Award for best Documentary at Sundance 2000, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001 and a DGA award in 2002, and has been exhibited at festivals worldwide, including the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2000 where it won the “In the Spirit of Freedom” award.

In 1995 Frances produced and directed Skin Deep, a film exploring race relations on college campuses. It was broadcast nationally on PBS and is now in use by nearly 2,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. In 1994, she received an Academy Award nomination for her documentary short Straight From The Heart. Additional producing and directing credits include such films as the groundbreaking documentary on Lesbian mothers and child custody, In the Best Interests of the Children (1977), a Blue Ribbon Winner at the American Film Festival. Her film The Faces of AIDS (1992) won a First Place at the Black Filmmakers‚ Hall of Fame. Her cinematography credits include The Times of Harvey Milk, Visions of the Spirit, The Ride to Wounded Knee, Reno's Kids, and scores of other award-winning documentaries including Deborah Hoffmann's Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter.

Frances has traveled widely to speak and lecture with her films and on filmmaking and cinematography. She served on the Grand Jury for the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. She is also the recipient of the James Phelan Art Award in Video. Frances is one of the original members of Iris Films, founded in 1975.


CO-Producer

Bio coming soon.


ASSISTANT EDITOR

Scott is the director of photography, editor and post-production manager at Little Thunder Films. He has served as an Assistant Editor on the short documentary Halmoni. He is also a freelance videographer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Scott graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Technocultural Studies & Film Studies in 2013.


CONSULTANT

Erica Marcus has been working on documentary and narrative films for more than twenty years. She began her film career working in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.  Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, she assisted the Cannes award winning filmmaker Hu Jin Quan (胡金铨 or King Hu).  In the mid-nineties, Erica was based in China where she produced and directed Behind the Scenes (电影与电影人), a popular weekly prime time program on international film and film festivals.  Her documentary films include My Home, My Prison, which premiered at Sundance in the Documentary Competition and the ITVS funded film, Alive in Limbo about Palestinian refugee youth in Lebanon. Erica is currently co-directing with Christiane Badgley, the NEH Bridging Cultures funded documentary Guangzhou Dream Factory about the African community in Guangzhou, China


COMMUNITY ADVISORS

Do to the sensitive nature of this film, most of our community advisors must still remain anonymous.

English Translation: Homosexuality is not a choice. Stop Hate. May 17th the international day against homophobia.

English Translation: Homosexuality is not a choice. Stop Hate. May 17th the international day against homophobia.

Maisaa Al-Hatemi is a writer and an activist for human rights and sexual minorities. Originally from United Arab Emirates, she moved to United States in 2012 in search of freedom and to be the person she is without fear. Maisaa has published two books in Arabic: The Other Voice a collection of short stories that reflect on the mysteries of women and their dark hidden-side, and Women in Chrysanthemums Color a novel that talks about women’s lives in Middle East and how to overcome the obstacles they are facing. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories in English called Under Niqab. She is also writing for Aswat Magazine about sexual minorities in the Arab world.

Maisaa works for Immigration Firm helping other Arab asylees who have also fled their home countries because of fear and persecution.

Maisaa’s YouTube channel "Mais in the United States" tells her life story and explores controversial topics that concern Arab LGBT people in Middle East and abroad. She is also interested in media and advertising and is always interested in participating on any project that helps to ease the LGBT struggles in the Middle East.


original crew

Read about how this film got its start in our blog post "Heck Yeah and I've got a Story to Tell!"

hoto Credit: dimnikolov

PAST Co-producer CURRENT ADVISOR

Jennifer Huang has been a documentary filmmaker in the Bay Area for 14 years. She recently co-produced a four-hour documentary series, Standing on Sacred Ground, about indigenous people fighting to save their sacred sites, including locations in Papua New Guinea, Canada, Peru, Ethiopia.  At the documentary department at Lucasfilm, she wrote and produced Harlem's Black Hellfighters: Black Soldiers of World War I, and contributed to nine other films, with topics ranging from Gertrude Bell to Dracula, from Tin Pan Alley to the Congo. She has worked as a writer, field producer and associate producer on productions for PBS, the Travel Channel, HGTV, TNT and AZN TV, and she co-founded Hyphen, an Asian American news and culture magazine. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Social Welfare and Ethnography through Cinema. 


PAST Co-producer