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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)

Ojai Award & Free Holiday Screening!

Kat Cole

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It is with very mixed emotions that I share with you all that From Baghdad to The Bay has been awarded with our fourth award! The Ojai Film Festival selected us to receive their very special Festival Theme Award for Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film. We are thrilled for the honor. You can read more about this below.

We spent a wonderful weekend with the people of Ojai just before the mass shooting took place in Ventura and the fires began to rage. While there, we heard traumatic and inspiring stories about the last wildfire that swept through the region and we were heartbroken when news hit about the recent fires that have devastated so many.

Our hearts go out to all those affected by the mass shooting and the California fires. Living in the Bay Area, our air is saturated with smoke and the horror of the destruction that still continues. It is a constant reminder of those we have lost and those who must now find ways to rebuild. We fear for people's safety and we hope for swift containment. Contributions are needed. Here is how you can help.

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


FREE HOLIDAY SCREENING


Join us for COMMUNITY CINEMA
PRESENTED BY CFI EDUCATION

Monday, December 3rd, 12pm - 2:15
Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael, CA
Admission is free, butseats must be reserved through Eventbrite
Post Q&A with Ghazwan Alsharif & Erin Palmquist

Watch this short clip of the festival's Founder and Artistic Director Steve Grumette, who gave us a wonderful introduction to the award. This award is particularly special as it truly honors Ghazwan's incredible spirit. Thank you so much Ojai!

Watch this short clip of the festival's Founder and Artistic Director Steve Grumette, who gave us a wonderful introduction to the award. This award is particularly special as it truly honors Ghazwan's incredible spirit. Thank you so much Ojai!


“The memory and feelings I took away from this film continue to be very haunting, in a good way. For me, that is the sign of a successful film.” 

Peggy Russell, Ojai Resident

Ellen Kuras was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award that day as well! What an honor to have been on the same stage as her!

Ellen Kuras was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award that day as well!
What an honor to have been on the same stage as her!

While I am continually frustrated to hear that young women are still facing the same issues that my generation has, it is thanks to women like Ellen forging a path for women in the industry, that this generation is growing up more emboldened than ever. Their belief in themselves and their understanding of what they are up against means major change will come! I was thrilled for the opportunity to sit down with the next generation of women filmmakers in Ojai to share my experiences in the industry and converse about their challenges and triumphs.

While I am continually frustrated to hear that young women are still facing the same issues that my generation has, it is thanks to women like Ellen forging a path for women in the industry, that this generation is growing up more emboldened than ever. Their belief in themselves and their understanding of what they are up against means major change will come! I was thrilled for the opportunity to sit down with the next generation of women filmmakers in Ojai to share my experiences in the industry and converse about their challenges and triumphs.


Ghazwan Hangs with High-schoolers


Thanks to CFI's Filmmakers Go to School Program and ForWords Literacy Lab, we had two incredible screenings with some of San Rafael High School's first-generation students. There were tears and hugs shared! They LOVED Ghazwan. He inspired them with encouraging words about believing in yourself and delighted them with his culinary passion - sharing his favorite dishes to cook. Our future is in good hands with these bright minds!

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"There are so many layers of meaning in this movie that resonated with our students and caused them to be deeply affected by the movie and the Q&A that followed. Each table group mentioned that Ghazwan’s message, “Never hate; always go with love” meant so much to them, especially in these troubled times."

Gail Siegel, Founder ForWords Literacy Lab

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THE PAST TWO MONTHS HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLE!

UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION FILM FESTIVAL

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ARAB FILM FESTIVAL

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MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

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GI FILM FESTIVAL SAN DIEGO

From Baghdad to The Bay wins our 3rd Award for Best First Time Filmmaker

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Photo credits: Scott Schwerdtfeger, Suneel Padmaraju, George Lazarus, Caity Ussery, Spark Photography & GI Film Festival San Diego