11 Aug Every son has a father. Every father has a story.
I wanted to capture his on film. So years ago, I asked if he’d be willing to tell his life story on camera. He agreed and for a couple of days he dived deep into stories of his life.
What I found most fascinating was his recalling his formative years. The very beginning – of his life as a young Jewish boy growing up in Baghdad. And that’s what I based the film on.
It took me by surprise. I had no idea about most of it. Maybe because, upon escaping Iraq, all his family’s photographs were confiscated by the authorities. (Like so many other Jews who were ousted and made refugees.)
Anyway, I made the film a while back and very year I since I made the film, I asked if I could share it and every year he politely declined – until this year. So – I share with you with pride, respect and love, the story of my father’s upbringing in Iraq. I think it’s so relevant today – not only because in it you hear truly mind-boggling stories of antisemitism and non-acceptance of the other. Not only because it’s a story about heritage.. which I think is so important and I don’t hear too many people talking about it. Not only because fathers and mothers shape their children and it bleeds into everything about who we are as people from our personal lives to our professional lives…
But because, to me, it’s a story of days gone by from a world where things seemed to matter more. Everything seems more precious. From the little things to the big things. You know? And I miss that.
My father is, always has been, and probably always will be the most influential man in my life. He’s almost 90 today. Anyway, this is my gift to him. Because he is the most precious gift to me. And I hope it’s kind of a gift to you.
Thanks. And I love you, Abba.
Huge thanks to all the people who helped me make this personal project possible. Credits on the site and Vimeo page. My gratitude to you all + the Estate of Yusef Lateef who graciously allowed me to use his incredible song “The Plum Blossom”.