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