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Jasmine Road: A Syrian Refugee Story with a Touch of Magic

By Ghadah Alrasheed

ALiGN: Alternative Global Network Media Lab



“If there are people who still believe we don’t belong here, who doesn’t like ice cream”? Layla, a journalist and newcomer from Aleppo, embarks on making booza, an Arabic type of ice cream, to support her family and overcome the hostility they face from the conservative community of Red River in Canada. Jasmine Road, premiering this month at the Calgary International Film Festival, is a magic inspired film that tells the story of a recently widowed Western rancher, Mac, and his daughter, Loretta, who take in a Syrian refugee family: Layla, her daughter Heba, and her brother Salem. The film is directed by Warren Sulatycky, who researched the stories of newcomers in collaboration with CCIS, Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre, and the Centre for Newcomers and Immigrant Service Calgary. He hopes the film gives its viewers a space to dream of a world in which people can celebrate newcomers and are more determined to embrace empathy and compassion.




Jasmine Road will be the opening film for Edmonton Film Festival and will broadcast nationwide on Super Channel on Oct 1st. “COVID has limited the participation of many films in festivals, but I remain hopeful that there would be more opportunities locally and internationally for sharing such a human, coming together of worlds and aesthetically magnificent work,” Aixa Kay, who plays Layla in the film, said. She hopes the film reaches not only other filmmakers and traditional film festivals but also grassroots organizations and communities to whom the film will be meaningful .


The film can be watched on Super Channel on Oct 1st: https://www.superchannel.ca/show/77767470/eiff-jasmine-road

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents can stream it at https://www.ciffcalgary.ca/films/2020/jasmine-road/

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