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Iraqi Voices returns to Frozen River

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 Iraqi Voices is an ongoing film series that tells the  stories of  people who left their homeland, Iraq, for a new life in the United States. Most of the stories are from Iraqis who are living, or have lived, in Minnesota.

This is the third year that the Iraqi  Voices series has been shown at Frozen River Film Festival.  Each year people connected to the films, especially Jamal Ali and Nathan Fisher, have conducted Q & A sessions and workshops after the screenings.

The films show many experiences in life, and how being an immigrant can be very difficult, especially when people are by themselves, with nobody by they side.

It also talks about the experiences of having witnessed people being killed right in front their eyes.

Iraqi Voices was presented during the 2018 Frozen River Festival in Winona, Minn. The festival ran from Wednesday, February 7 until Sunday, February 11.

The films were written and directed by the Iraqis who are now living in Minneapolis.  Nathan Fisher is the editor of the series, and frequently the lead photographer of the films.

One  major purpose of making this film, according to Fisher,  is to help viewers to understand the life stories of others in their community.

A related goal is to see beyond stereotypes, beyond of of what is said in the news or social media.  To see the world from different perspectives, from the perspective of actual Iraqi people who needed to flee their country for reasons of safety. To listen a true story that is not found in the news. To move beyond appearances and to welcome the Iraqis  as part of the American community.

The collection of Iraqi Voices shown at Frozen River entire is around 1:30 long, and it is divided into eight small films, each featuring the story of one person.

Here are the eight segments:

That’s What We Hear in the News  Time: 5 minutes

Directed by: Jamal Ali with Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher  Filmed & produced: 2014

Synopsis: This segment tells the story of Jamal Ali, an Iraqi who went to college in Oklahoma, and met many American friends.  Jamal returned to Iraq to raise a family and pursue his career. the war in Iraq forced him to return to the States, this time to live in Minnesota as a refugee. After his return to the US, Jamal realizes the picture Americans are receiving from mass media is quite inaccurate.  One of Jamal”s messages is to  tell people that Iraqis are something more than what people in the U.S. hear from the news.

Jamal Ali of “Iraqi Voices” on the immigrant experience

The Barbershop Time: 6 minutes

Directed by Zaid Alshammaa with Jamal Ali and Nathan Fisher

Edited by Nathan Fisher    Filmed & produced: 2014

Synopsis  Zaid Alshammaa tells about his experience witnessing a gun shorting at Iraq while trying to get a haircut in the barbershop.

The Actor    Time: 7 minutes

Directed by: Adnan Shati with Yahya Ebrahem and Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher     Filmed produced: 2015

Synopsis  Adnan Shati, an actor from Iraq, talks about the different reasons which have caused Iraqis  to flee their country. Adman also talks about the power of politicians in Iraq and how society does not anything to change the corruption in the country.

Stealth Pathogen  Time: 9 minutes

Directed by:  Nathan Fisher with Adnan Shati, Dr. Azur Maluki, Ishaq Maluki

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher    Filmed & produced: 2015

Synopsis  The film tells the story of many doctors in Iraq who are suffering from the crimes, including assassination

The Fifty Generation   Time: 7 minutes

Directed by:  Ali Alshammaa with Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher  Filmed &  produced: 2014

Synopsis  Ali Alshammaa is an Iraqi who has been suffering a crisis of identity, he has fled Iraq several times. Ali was a victim of mistreatment, and now he is trying to find where he belongs.

Our Iraq   Time: 15 minutes

Directed by:  Jamal Ali and Amel Al-Sammarraie with Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher  filmed & produced: 2016

Synopsis The film is about Muslims in Minnesota going into a Catholic church to join a prayer community.

Alice’s Story Time: 5 minutes

Directed by:  Alice with Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher  filmed & produced: 2012

Synopsis Alice is a college student in Minnesota. She left Iraq for her safety.  Although she feels protected in the United States, she believes she does not belong here. Alice suffers every day trying to fit in with the Americans around her, but she is afraid of being judged due to her background.

Naser’s Story  Time: 4 minutes

Directed by: Naser Ameen with Nathan Fisher

Edited by:  Nathan Fisher,  filmed & produced 2012

Synopsis Naser tells his of life struggles. He is been having difficulties finding a job in both Iraq and the United States. According to Naser, his strong accent often prevents him from job opportunities.

 

Nate Fisher interview: sharing common voices

 

Film: ‘Iraqi Voices’ presented by Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project

Iraqi Voices

 

 

 

 

 

 

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