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Story of Syrian refugees in County to be TVO doc

Canada150As part of Canada’s 150th upcoming birthday, some of the nation’s top documentary filmmakers will be producing a documentary for TVO about Prince Edward County embracing the sponsorship and resettlement of Syrian refugees into the rural community.

PEC Syria leadership and select Syrian families members have agreed to participate.

This winter, Michèle Hozer and Roxana Spicer won a provincial competition, involving about 50 other top filmmakers in Ontario, in a bid for a TVO documentary that celebrates Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday.

“As first generation Canadians ourselves, we share a strong interest in the challenges and triumphs that go with the price of admission to Canada,” the two noted in a statement. “We watched our parents adjust to a new culture, language, and environment. We flirted with several different approaches to the project, but when we saw Carlyn Moulton’s presentation at a meeting of 200 sponsors in Toronto in March of this year, we knew instinctively that the story of the Prince Edward County Syrians and their sponsors trumped all of our other ideas: great story, great characters, and thanks to the trust we’ve been given, great access.”

On May 1st TVO began shooting at a PEC Syria potluck held in Wellington to thank the community for its ongoing support of PEC Syria and the three new Syrian Canadian families who are resettling in the region. They plan to spend 25-30 days of shooting over the next several months, tracking the stories of the remarkable people behind this extraordinary and uniquely “Canadian” story.

“Our success will depend 100 per cent on the ongoing trust of the community: volunteers, sponsors and, most importantly, the families from Syria,” said Spicer. “We are going to be familiar faces around the County this year – looking for the special moments to capture on film. We are also very interested in getting behind the scenes in the ongoing struggle to bring more Syrian families into the community, particularly the three brothers of Abdel Malek Al Jasem.

“The film will air in the fall of 2017 and, if approved, will be accompanied by a very high-end digital media component. We are working with an award-winning team, our cinematographer, our sound recordist, and of course, our producer / co-director, Michèle who’s been shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.”

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  1. As a collector of County history, I’m pleased that we’ll get to hear the stories of some of our newest arrivals and weave it into the tapestry of County culture. Thanks TVO!

  2. Susan Rose says:

    Congrats to all involved! Job well done

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    What a wonderful story – the organizers of the Syrian Refugee effort here in PEC should feel proud and be congratulated – they sure deserve it!

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