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SYNOPSIS

War tragically pushed Asmaa out of her home country, Syria, where her destiny had been written as a wife and mother with only 16 years of age. Asmaa rebuilt her adult identity as the neighborhood storyteller and began using reading aloud to children for fun as a bridge to tackle critical issues in her new community at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
 
Seven years later, with Asmaa’s first born daughter reaching adolescence, a flashback of her education deprived past emerges and inspires her to embark on a new read aloud project to empower teenage girls to build a future of opportunities she never had. Despite her complex living situation as a refugee and the community’s conservative mindset, Asmaa is determined to raise a conscious generation of successful women.
 
The Neighborhood Storyteller is a documentary feature film that explores human resilience, the transition from child to adult and one's capacity to turn hardships into an opportunity for self growth. 

THE NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLER
Duration (50 min.)
Release Date: Coming Soon 2022

 
 

WATCH TRAILER

AWARDS & FILM FESTIVALS 

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FILM CREDITS

Director & Co-Editor

Alejandra Alcala

Producer, Camera B & Photographer

Francisco J. Alcala

DOP, Consulting Producer & Co-Editor

Alex Garcia

Associate Producer & WLR Coordinator

Ghufran Abudayyeh

Colorist

Chema Mumford

Original Score

Bernardo Castro

Original Score Mixer & Oud Player

Jorge Sapién

Violin Player

Yarub Smarait

Location Audio Mixer

Essa Makhadmeh

Simultaneous Translator

Amani Abu-Agha

Photographer

Patti Bartelstein

Transcription and Translation By

Natakallam

Special Thanks 

Dr. Rana Dajani

Royal Film Commission Jordan

Omar Sawalha

Tarek Abu Ghoush 
Jon Kasbe 
Konstantin Bock

Presented by

The Big Heart Foundation

A Production Of 

HOME Storytellers

Made Possible With the Support Of

We Love Reading

Executive Producers

Mariam Al Hammadi

Abdullah Mohamed

Natasha Nazi

Co-Executive Producers

Alan & Michelle Andrews

 

FEATURING

 
ALE AND ASMA

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

On the surface, Asmaa and I seemed very different. We come from distinct backgrounds, cultures, languages, religions and situations. But it didn't take long for me to realize that we had more in common than I’d ever imagine. We are two women the same age trying to make a difference in the world through storytelling. On an even deeper level, we are two humans trying to find meaning and transcendence. These parallelisms have led to a fascinating and very emotional journey as a filmmaker. Asmaa’s courage and strength has allowed me to face my own fears and overcome the enormous challenge of producing this film during the pandemic in a foreign country and language. 

The more we talked and the more the team and I understood her living situation, we couldn't help wonder, what drives someone facing adversity and hardship to turn it into an opportunity for change? Where does the motivation come from? This became our driving motor. This documentary is also a reflection of the framework and philosophy of The Big Heart Foundation's local Jordanian partner and grantee, We Love Reading, told through Asmaa's story. It brings to light the importance of empowering refugees with agency, autonomy, voice and ownership. 

I hope Asmaa's story will inspire others as it has inspired me. I hope Asmaa can lead the way towards important systematic changes and even more so I hope it can help confront people and remove stigmas from society.

— Alejandra Alcala
 

PARTNERS

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) strives to not only respond to humanitarian crises but to also work on developing projects which support vulnerable populations and empower people to become advocates and supporters of their communities. Asmaa’s story encapsulates the essence of the work we do.
 
TBHF partnered with We Love Reading and HOME Storytellers for the creation of  "The Neighborhood Storyteller" as a way to highlight how reading aloud to children in their native language for fun is enhancing psycho-social wellbeing, providing education and creating change makers in refugee communities.
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Coming Soon

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