Contact us

San Francisco

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.

In the Press

MARCH 21, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 8.55.09 PM.png

Another first-time filmmaker at the festival is Erin Palmquist, the Oakland-based director of “From Baghdad to the Bay.”

The 70-minute documentary chronicles the journey of Ghazwan Alsharif, an Iraqi man who served as a translator and advisor for U.S. military forces.

Ostracized by his family and community for helping the United States, Alsharif was… READ MORE


OCTOBER 19, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 2.48.44 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 2.48.49 PM.png

OCTOBER 17, 2018


Every year -- and, for some of us, every day -- brings with it increased anxiety about the future. Apart from the state of the U.S. government and political unrest around the world, global climate change gives reason enough for intense concern. Of course, as fears and injustices rise up, so do heroes, those who urgently work to right wrongs and those who inform the public at large. So if this year's theme for the United Nations Association Film Festival, "Tomorrow?," sounds a little anxious, it's meeting us where we live -- but it's also looking forward with hope.

"From Baghdad to the Bay" profiles local chef Ghazwan Alsharif, with footage covering his eight years living in the United States after fleeing persecution in his native Iraq (featured in an interview with the Weekly in July). Highly valued as one of the best interpreters recruited by the U.S. military after its invasion of Iraq, Ghazwan found himself jailed without warning by the Iraqi military police and tortured under accusations of being a traitorous double agent or even a terrorist.

OCTOBER 17, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 3.05.26 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 3.05.38 PM.png

OCTOBER 17, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 3.16.50 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 3.17.24 PM.png

On this edition of Your Call, we discuss this year's Arab Film Festival in San Francisco with a focus on the documentary From Baghdad to the Bay.

Ghazwan Alsharif, a former translator for the US military in Iraq, was wrongfully accused of being a spy. He was arrested by the US military police, tortured, imprisoned, and ostracized from his family and country. Upon his release, he moved to San Francisco where he now lives openly as gay man. From Baghdad to the Bay follows his harrowing journey. How are filmmakers exploring politics, sexuality, and conflict in the Arab world on the big screen?


Serge Bakalian, executive director of the Arab Film Festival and the Arab Film and Media Institute

Erin Palmquist, director of From Baghdad to the Bay, and producer and director of photography for the documentary shorts series Oakland Originals



OCTOBER 16, 2018

Director Erin Palmquist sat down with Stanford Lecturer + Arabology radio host Dr. Ramzi Salti for KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford). Erin was joined by Serge Bakalian, Executive Director of the Arab Film Festival.


OCTOBER 16, 2018

Interview with Director Erin Palmquist and KWMR Radio’s R. Gallyot entitled “Indie Documentary Filmmaking”


OCTOBER 10, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 2.01.57 PM.png


JULY 8, 2018


APRIL 26, 2018


APRIL 9, 2018



JANUARY 25, 2018


FEBRUARY 23, 2018


FEBRUARY 21, 2018


FEBRUARY 21, 2018


JANUARY 25, 2018


MARCH 1, 2016




Best Chef
Ghazwan Alsharif
He's so good, there is a movie being made about him. Stay tuned. — The Wacky Italian


MAY 7, 2015


MAY 21, 2014