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May 22, 2013 Comments Off on SIFF 2013: The Locally Made Doc “Barzan” Is A Must See Views: 1551 Arts & Entertainment, Film, Seattle International Film Festival

SIFF 2013: The Locally Made Doc “Barzan” Is A Must See


We’d cheer on “Barzan”, the locally made documentary film about an Iraqi immigrant and Bothell resident who was accused of terrorism and deported, regardless of who made it. Yes, friends of ours, the production company The Last Quest and the journalist team over at the excellent website The Seattle Globalist are responsible for making this film…but, it’s such an amazing piece of investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking, that we’d give it a thumbs up regardless who actually put it together. And, y’all have a chance to check out this excellent film at the Seattle International Film Festival since it’s making its area debut this Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7 pm at the Harvard Exit on Capital Hill and reprises on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm at the Kirkland Performance Center. (Get tickets HERE!)

“Barzan” (pronounced ‘Bar-zahn’…does NOT rhyme with Tarzan) was a childhood nickname given to Sam Malkandi, an Iraqi man who fled the country as a political refugee who eventually ended up in Bothell, Washington with his family, living “The American Dream”…

From the Barzan The Film website:

Sam “Barzan” Malkandi, an Iraqi refugee to the US and beloved father, was working toward his piece of the American Dream in a Seattle suburb. But a footnote in ‘The 9/11 Commission Report,’ connecting him to a high-level Al-Qaeda operative through his childhood nickname, changed everything.

To neighbors, Sam Malkandi was the model immigrant and perfect family man. He worked hard to buy a house, secure a better future for his children and assimilate to American life. To investigators, Malkandi was a cold-blooded terrorist that represented a potential link between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. To audiences, Malkandi is a mercurial character whose story embodies controversial issues of immigration, xenophobia, and the price of security in the 21st century.

Shot both in Iraq and Seattle, and featuring haunting sand animation sequences, the film takes audiences on the epic geopolitical journey of a family torn apart by suspicion, and examines the opaque government agencies charged with keeping us safe, even at the cost of freedom.

The story of Sam “Barzan” Malkandi was originally uncovered by Seattle based journalists Alex Stonehill and Sarah Stuteville while on assignment for their Seattle based website, The Seattle Globalist. The original interview with Sam was only scheduled for part of one day, but as his tale unfolded, Stonehill and Stuteville extended that visit to a week and left for the United States convinced this story would be cinematically compelling. Teaming up with Seattle filmmakers Brad Hutchinson, Morgan Dusatko and Cassidy Dimon from The Last Quest, the collaborative project quickly became an international endeavor. The results are a haunting look at the times we live in and the power of paranoia and propaganda in global society since 9/11.

Critics from The Seattle Times, The Stranger, The Seattle Weekly, KUOW and many other local media outlets all give “Barzan” a big “thumbs up” and we strongly urge anyone with an interest in world affairs and compelling documentary film to check out “Barzan”.

Check out the trailer.

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