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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.

Keeping Up With Ghazwan (blog)

Award Winner, GI Film Festival!

Kat Cole

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Last Friday we had a very special screening at the GI Film Festival San Diego and on Saturday night we received the Best First Time Filmmaker Award! This is From Baghdad to The Bay's forth festival and third award!

Receiving this award is quite an honor. The making of this film has been a very complicated journey. I was challenged ethically, physically, financially and emotionally at lengths that I could not have imagined when we first started back in 2008. Looking back over the past 10 years, there were countless moments when I wanted to give up. In those moments, I always thought about Ghazwan and his incredible perseverance. If he could endure the traumatic events of his life, without losing faith in himself and others, then I most certainly could not give up. Additionally, I had the incredible support of my family and friends as well as my dedicated team. They were my rock. Especially my Executive Producer, Frances Reid, who was there for me on every step of this journey.

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While the process of arriving here today has been one of great sacrifice and struggle for everyone involved, it has also been one of the most rewarding gifts. With each screening, we see people's lives changed in profound ways. Ghazwan's story is making a difference and it will continue to do so for years to come.

While this award honors the filmmaker, singular, it would not have been possible without everyone involved. And so, it was a great honor to accept this award with Ghazwan on behalf of not just myself and Ghazwan but also on behalf of everyone who dedicated their time, resources and talent to make this film possible. A full list of these incredible people can be found here. I could not have done it without everyone one of them.

If you have not been able to join us for a screening yet, over the next month you will have six more opportunities at the Mill Valley Film FestivalArab Film FestivalUnited Nations Association Film Festival and Ojai Film Festival! Screening details can be found below and on our website.

This is the wonderful culmination of 10 years worth of work and so much more, please come and celebrate with us!

We hope to see you at a theater soon!

Sincerely,
Erin Palmquist and the From Baghdad to The Bay Team

UP NEXT: Mill Valley Film Festival! 

Purchase your tickets while they are still available!

 
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SCREENING #1
October 13th, 2pm, San Rafael
Co-presented by Human Rights Watch &
LGBT Asylum Project

SCREENING #2
October, 14th, 2:15pm, Mill Valley
Co-presented by International Rescue Committee &
Horizons Foundation

Ghazwan and much of the crew will be attending one or both of the screenings!

Our GI Film Festival screening was extra special as Tom Stewart joined us! Tom and Ghazwan met in Iraq while serving. He plays an extremely important role in the film, so much so that we can't imagine how we would have told the story without him. This was his first time seeing the film! We were honored to also have his family with us.

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10 years later and 10 minutes before showtime!

We were fortunate to catch two incredible films at the GI Film Festival.
Keep an eye out for opportunities to watch these must-see films.

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The Weight of Honor

 Filmed over five years, The Weight of Honor follows the lives of the caregivers of veterans who have been catastrophically wounded in America’s longest war. Their lives are transformed overnight to 24/7 caregivers tasked with caring for their war-wounded. The film reveals the family dynamic, their relationships before the wounds of war, and now, the uncertainties that lie ahead. Nominated for Best Documentary Short.

Directed by Stephanie Seldin Howard

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We Are Not Done Yet

Grappling with PTSD, Ten U.S. veterans share fears, vulnerabilities, and victories that eventually culminate into a live performance at Washington D.C.’s Lansburgh Theatre. Under the direction of actor Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s “Westworld”), the warrior poets take their stories to an audience of five hundred civilians, family members and fellow warriors to tell too often hidden truths about the consequences of intimacy with war and death. Winner, Best Documentary Short

Directed Sareen Hairabedian