From Baghdad to The Bay

1 rating

This award winning feature length documentary shares the epic journey of Ghazwan Alsharif, an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the U.S. military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, imprisoned and tortured by those he risked his life to protect, and ostracized from family and country, we follow Ghazwan as he struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay activist. 

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Best Documentary Feature

- Cinequest

Best Film, Programmer's Award for Excellence

- OUTshine Film Festival Miami

First Time Feature Filmmaker Award

- GI Film Festival

Festival Theme Award for Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film

- Ojai Film Festival

Jury Award for Best Documentary

- qFlix Philadelphia

Celebration of Courage Award for Best Documentary

- OUT HERE NOW: Kansas City LGBT Film Festival

Best LGBTQI Feature Film

- Oxford Film Festival


“Ghazwan Alsharif’s comfortable yet constrained way of life ceased with the invasion of Iraq. His tortuous journey from U.S. Army translator to Bay Area chef is the stuff that nightmares—and dreams—are made of. Erin Palmquist’s loose-limbed, free-flowing and endlessly unpredictable character portrait, From Baghdad to The Bay, movingly mirrors its subject’s persistence and generosity.”

- Michael Fox | KQED Arts

“Grips viewers from beginning to end.”

- cineSOURCE Magazine

“A film that traces the remarkable journey Alsharif was lucky to survive.”

- SF Arts Magazine

“An incredible story.”

- San Francisco Chronicle

“A necessary and life-changing film that is a groundbreaking in managing to broach a variety of themes and topics in a courageous yet sensitive manner.”

- Dr. Ramzi Salti | Arabology Blog & Podcast

“Powerful, sad, inspiring. Ghazwan is an amazing man. You just want to give him a hug after seeing what he’s been through.”

- Your Call with Rose Aguilar, KALW

“Excellent and engaging”

- Roger Walker-Dack, EDGE Media Network

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From Baghdad to The Bay intersects with some of the most important, diverse and relevant topics of our time, from the polarized debate around immigration and the pervasive animosity towards people from the Middle East, to the aftermath of war and contentious torture tactics, to Human & LGBTQ rights. Centered around Ghazwan Alsharif’s powerful personal story, the film evokes conversations about how these issues intersect and urges us to reflect on these issues globally.

Ghazwan's story also provides an entry point for a wide and diverse set of audiences to discuss and challenge personal paradigms that each viewer will inevitably bring to their viewing. His gregarious and outgoing personality touches people in a universal way that has sparked deep change in individuals plagued by fear of the unknown and prejudice of many types.

The film is not only socially relevant but also a spectacular emotional roller coaster ride. With unexpected twists and turns that will sometimes shock and sometimes delight, you may get angry and you could cry but you will also most definitely laugh. It is a raw and deeply personal look at one man's harrowing and heartfelt journey to be true to himself amidst extreme adversity and a true embodiment of the "American Dream." Ghazwan illustrates the hope and spirit that the United States still inspires.

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68 min
English w/ Arabic Subtitles
Subtitles Available
English & Spanish
Closed Captions
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From Baghdad to The Bay

1 rating