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Supper With Syria

Right now we are constantly hearing news about the tragic state of the Syrian crisis. It is a desperate time. To break away from all the negative stories that dominate the media, Inna Gertsberg approached me to shoot a campaign for the Supper With Syria fundraiser that would speak to how our lives will be enriched by embracing Syrian refugees and their culture. I directed and edited these two spots that feature real Syrian Canadians, along with a series of 10-15 second spots that we shared on social media. 

Supper With Syria is a community fundraiser celebrating Syrian food, music and culture. Their goal was to raise $70K to sponsor two refugee families coming to Toronto. I am proud to say they have far surpassed their goal and brought in $100K and counting, and can now sponsor a third family.

Thanks to Lara Zahabi-Bekdash and Hind Kabawat for letting us into their homes, Lanny Bolger and all the crew who volunteered their time, Wafa Zaghal and the Canadian Arabic Orchestra for providing the music, Craig Samuel at S1 for donating the equipment, and most of all to the beautiful Syrian people who were brave enough to appear on camera. And a big thanks to writer and art director Inna Gertsberg, one of my long time collaborators, and a tireless source of creative inspiration.

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Our crew is stuffed into a backroom in the CRC building in Regent Park. Out in the dining hall, the tension mounts as more and more hungry mouths wait for food to be served after a breakdown in the kitchen. We’re waiting to film Frances Deacon, a vibrant 92 year old woman who comes here to help serve food to people in need. Full stomachs make happier people, says the kitchen manager as he signals for us to continue waiting. Slowly the meals start landing on tables and we are let loose to begin filming Fran as she floats around the room welcoming everyone who’s come for a much needed meal.

This is just one small part of Fran’s story – a story that has led to her being honoured with the Spirit of Philanthropy award from the Toronto Foundation.

In partnership with writer and creative director Inna Gertsberg, I had the pleasure of directing, editing, and shooting the stills for this piece for the Toronto Foundation. Thanks to DP Dwain Barrick, producer Justin MacRae, and our entire cast and crew for all their hard work putting this together. 

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Also checkout this alternate version we produced, edited by Sean Danby. Special thanks to Andy Mcleod.