Movie Short Film Review: ‘How Far Is Home’

Review by David Ferguson

Greetings again from the darkness. It’s a 21 minute documentary short film, yet director Apo W Bazidi (RESISTANCE IS LIFE, 2017) manages to put a face to President’s Trump immigration policies and proposals, and those people trying to make the best of it. We immediately take a liking to Ahmed Mohammed, the same as most others who meet him.

Ahmed attends Thomas Jefferson School in Cleveland. It’s an immigrant school and covers grades Pre-K through 12th for “newcomers.” We learn Ohio receives the third most refugees of any state, and most are children. Ahmed is from Iraq and is 11th grade. He attends school, works as a busboy, has been selected for peer mediation, and acts as translator for new students. He sports a mop of wavy hair, loves acting class and soccer, and is bursting with charisma. Ahmed is everything we hope for our own kids. However, Ahmed has lost both parents, and now clings to his sister Ruba, a senior at the same school. They came to the US from Syria, after previously fleeing Iraq.

One of the best moments occurs when Ruba reads the paper she wrote recollecting her own experience … an experience likely similar to many in her class. Each is learning a new language and culture, and the support system of the teachers and administrators is crucial. Many of the teachers have backgrounds similar to the students. The film is filled with folks making the best of their situation and seizing an opportunity to salvage a life, where once one was in doubt. One can view Bazidi’s film as being critical of the current U.S. immigration policy, or as an exceptionally inspirational film about those who are working daily to take advantage of an opportunity. Ahmed and Ruba, and these educators leave quite a strong impression.

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