I have mentioned my film projects on the blog before, so I’m excited to share an update about Welcome – Ahlan wa Sahlan. This short film is a queer fantasy romance about Shadia, a Syrian refugee newly arrived to a small house on the coast of Nova Scotia with her aunt and uncle. When she finds a shell carefully placed on her dock one morning, she takes an interest in her new home for the first time. More gifts follow, and Shadia leaves her own in return. She is soon shocked to discover that her benefactor is a mermaid. Shock gives way to friendship, and friendship to something more as Shadia and the mermaid share wonders from their very different worlds.
Production is largely being funded through the FILM 5 program at the Atlantic Filmmaker’s Cooperative (AFCOOP), but contributions via Kickstarter will allow me to include more special effects, pay my crew more, and top up funds for things like set design and craft services (food for the cast and crew). And even if you aren’t able to contribute financially, sharing the project page with friends/online is a huge help!
I feel very fortunate to be working with some amazing people on this project, including Lina Arafeh, a member of the Syrian refugee community in my hometown of Nova Scotia. Lina’s advice has been invaluable in making this film inclusive, accurate, and respectful. The role of the Mermaid will be played by Stephanie Norman (aka Raina Mermaid), who is a professional mermaid/actress/model/educator. I have already learned a ton from her about everything from working and shooting underwater to ocean conservation!
To read more about the other folks helping me bring this dream to life, and to check out the project, head on over to
Welcome – Ahlan wa Sahlan on Kickstarter!