Film Title: GROWING HOME

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1 PRESS KIT

2 Film Title: GROWING HOME ي نبتون نا Arabic Title: Logline A resourceful barber builds a new life in the Zaatari Refugee Camp but nothing can take the place of his homeland. Synopsis Samer, a displaced Syrian barber, has taken refuge along with his young family in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Despite filling his time with meaningful work, caring for his family and improving his living conditions, the daily distractions cannot diminish his desire to return home. Technical Specifications TRT: 22 minutes Exhibition Format: DVD, Blu-Ray, Quicktime, HDCAM DCP Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Shooting Format: HD Color Arabic with English subtitles Spanish, French Subtitles Available Contact Information Faisal Attrache - Producer/Director Heidi Hathaway - Producer

3 Director s Statement I was born in Syria and grew up in the United States. I am Syrian-American by my own definition. When the protests broke out in 2011 I was living in Damascus, the Syrian capital. It was a short-lived period of excitement and hope. Within a few months I would return to the United States to start my MFA, and Syria would begin its descent into destruction. As I watched from afar I wondered what role I could play and how could I do my part to help the Syrian people, or at least help make their voices heard? The biggest visible effect of the conflict in Syria (besides the obvious death and destruction) was the vast number of refugees pouring across borders and migrating from city to city. Neighboring countries received the majority of the displaced and refugee camps were set up in some of them, the largest being the Zaatari Camp in Northern Jordan. I wanted to focus on the refugee crisis because it is an issue that will outlast the war, and I worried about how the refugee crisis was going to affect the future generations of Syrian children. With that in mind, I came across an image of a Syrian barber cutting hair in a make-shift tent barber shop. His resourcefulness amazed me, and I never even considered how refugees went about their day to day tasks, simply trying to survive and get on. I wanted to talk to these barbers and hear their stories. They provided their communities with a sense of normalcy and the fundamental human need to cut their hair when it grows too long. Barbers are close to their community s pulse and are focal points of it. I gathered a group of fellow USC film students, we launched a successful crowd-funding campaign, and then headed out to the Zaatari camp in August of 2013 to make our film. Growing Home shows you what it might be like if your life was suddenly uprooted and you were forced to make a new home in a refugee camp in the desert. It shows the will and determination of these individuals to make decent lives for themselves despite the odds being against them. When you watch this film, keep in mind that Samer could be you or your brother or neighbor or friend, and remember that these refugees may never be able to return to their homes without the support of the capable and willing people of the world. Faisal Attrache - Director / Producer Faisal Attrache is a Syrian-American filmmaker born in Syria and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from UCLA, Faisal spent a year living in Syria where he made his first short film. Upon returning to the United States, Faisal attended the University of Southern California s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts where he received his MFA in film and television production. Faisal is a writer/director who strives to tell unique stories across many genres, with a powerful, socially conscious message. Heidi Hathaway - Producer Heidi Hathaway is a producer/director who started her education in theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. In college, she fell in love with film through her work in the art department on television and independent features such as Veronica Mars (UPN), Little Chocolatiers (TLC), High School Musical 3 (Disney) and Forever Strong (Go Films). She produced and directed short format documentaries and a series, Legends, for Brigham Young University Broadcasting before starting her MFA in film production at the world-renowned University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Her films feature strong, female protagonists dealing with issues of body image, surrogacy, homosexuality and family dynamics.

4 Frequently Asked Questions When did you go to the camp? Faisal went on a pre-production trip in June of Production commenced in August 2013 for just over two weeks. During this time we went to the Zaatari camp with our four-person crew and filmed the majority of our footage. We spent time with Samer and his family and toured the camp with several other refugees and administrators. Seven months later, in March 2014, Faisal had the opportunity to return for a two-day follow up trip. He reconnected with Samer and filmed what is the follow-up portion of the film. How did you find your subject? In general, it was very difficult to find individuals willing to be on camera. Having a camera in the camp is a very sensitive issue as the refugees feel exploited by foreign media who come in, film them, may or may not promise aid and never return. In addition, many fear that the Syrian regime will track them or their families down if they appear in the media. Part of our fundraising campaign was to raise funds to provide free haircuts for refugees in the camp. It was during this time that we met Samer, who happened to be working at one of those barber shops. We got to know him and had our initial interview, and the next day he invited us over to his home. After weighing our options we decided to stick with him and learn about his life and story. Where is he now? Samer is still in the Zaatari Camp with his wife and now three sons. At the end of 2014, he was forced to close down his barber shop because he could no longer keep up with the costs of running and maintaining it. He says that the financial situation in the camp is much more difficult than before. People hardly get one haircut a month now and the total population of the camp is about half of what it was during our production trips. He has been doing whatever jobs are avaialble to make ends meet. Rather than speak of returning home, he nows speaks of getting his family out of the camp to Europe or North America. Where do women cut their hair? The barber shops we filmed in were male-only, but we did meet and interview a female hair stylist in her make-shift salon in her caravan. They call these female stylists coiffeurs and they are female-only spaces where women can get their hair cut, make-up done, or even be groomed before their wedding. In fact, the coiffeur we spoke to even rented out a variety of bridal dresses to brides-to-be. Unfortunately, we were unable to interview these women or stylists on camera for cultural and security reasons. What plans do you have for the film? GROWING HOME has screened at over 20 film festivals around the world as well as dozens of events, fundraisers, conferences and lectures. It won the Jury Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival and was nominated for best short documentary at the prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest. It also screened for the United Nations in Geneva. In December 2015 it was released online with subtitles in English, French and Spanish. We hope to be able to use the film as an educational tool to raise awareness about Syrian refugees in academic settings, as well as screen on television channels throughout the world.

5 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The crew meets with barbers, Jan Bezouska records background sound, the crew with Samer and Hamza, Faisal gets a haircut BELOW: Samer outside his family s caravan in March 2014

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