October 17 only

Director Erin Palmquist and subject Ghazwan Alsharif will lead a post-screening Q&A!

Tracks the harrowing journey of Ghazwan Alsharif who served as an interpreter and cultural advisor for the US army during its invasion of Iraq. Working around the clock with top US military officials to help stabilize his country after the toppling of the Hussein regime, Ghazwan risked personal safety amidst threats from fellow countrymen who viewed him as a traitor, and was eventually disowned by his family for helping the US. In time, and amidst the heated, paranoia-fueled environment of war, Ghazwan was arrested by the US military police, tortured, and imprisoned for 75 days under false accusations of treason. Upon his release, and as the death threats kept coming: he was forced to move abroad to a life of exile in San Francisco, where he attempts to recover from wartime trauma whilst coming to terms with the reality of not being able to return to his country.

Now living openly as a gay man and working as a chef, Ghazwan keeps hope alive, and for the first time begins grasping hold of his dreams. Across archival footage, candid interviews, slice of life interludes, and animated re-enactments, Erin Palmquist’s award-winning documentary From Baghdad To The Bay delicately stitches together a refugee story that reaches to the core of what it means to survive amidst devastating circumstances. As Ghazwan’s story develops, and as various points of his story unravel simultaneously, Palmquist’s artful employment of layered narrative time evokes the process of remembering, much less the process of healing, as a reminder that one’s personal history can never be relayed through a singular trajectory, but, in fact bespeaks a kaleidoscope of feeling that moves and morphs across the turbulent landscape of memory. (Alexander Farrow)

Winner of Cinequest 2018’s Best Documentary Feature Award and OUTShine 2017’s Programmer’s Award for Best Film.

Director bio:

Erin Palmquist has worked for independent filmmakers as well as Lucasfilm, National Geographic Explorer, and PBS. She produced, edited, and filmed BDSM: It’s Not What You Think! a half-hour documentary that premiered at Frameline 2008. She is also the director of photography on 5 Blocks (2016), a feature length documentary chronicling the revitalization of the Central Market Street neighborhood in San Francisco. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Palmquist is also a producer and director of photography for the documentary shorts series Oakland Originals. From Baghdad to The Bay is her first feature length documentary.

For more information, please visit the Arab Film Festival website.

Directed by Erin Palmquist. 68 min. Digital. USA, Iraq. 2018.

NOTE FILMS START RIGHT AT THE LISTED SHOWTIME. Roxie Theater trailers play during the 30 minutes prior to showtime.


Arab Film Festival: FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY: Upcoming Showtimes