From war to the rink -- a Syrian family's life in Canada

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Image: CBC/Hockey Mom. Used with permission.

How does it feel to arrive to a new country to start a new life? Where do you begin? The fear, uncertainty and doubts can be overwhelming. Simple questions with complicated answers.

Hockey Mom follows a single Syrian mother and her young son rebuilding their life in Toronto with the support of Canada's private refugee sponsorship program.

When the Syrian war tore her life apart, Fatma came to Canada with her family to build a new life for herself on her own terms. Twenty days after she arrived in Toronto, she left her husband. For two years, Fatma and her son, Majed, had been living with their sponsors in Toronto.  On the surface, their new life in Canada seems fine, but Majed hasn't made friends and is routinely suspended from school for unruly behaviour. Fatma decides that a change of address might be the solution to his problems. Determined to provide Majed with everything he needs, she finds an apartment in a nearby suburb. The move makes matters worse and Fatma encounters obstacles every step of the way.

Majed's school suspensions continue, leaving Fatma with no time to look for a job. When the sponsors tell her that their financial support will soon run out, and with no job prospects in sight, she feels like a failure. In spite of this, Fatma digs deep to take ownership of her choices and finds the courage to face them.

Hockey Mom is more than just a story about a Syrian mother trying to make a new life with her son -- it's a story about a woman learning to trust herself.

Teyama Alkamli and Andrew Moir are the film's co-directors. They talk to Face2Face host David Peck about the film, and about Syria, motherhood and refugees, new Canadians, survival jobs, and something called the newcomer kitchen.

Watch it here on CBC.

About the directors:

Teyama Alkamli: Born in Aleppo and raised in Dubai, Teyama Alkamli is currently a proud Torontonian. Her visually tender and deeply human films deal predominantly with issues of identity, sexuality, displacement and migration. Alkamli's short films have screened at festivals worldwide. She is an alumna of DocNomads, the European Mobile Film School, Hot Docs Emerging Filmmaker Lab, and the Canadian Film Centre's Director Lab. Hockey Mom is her first mid-length documentary. She is currently developing her narrative feature debut, My Name is Jala.

Andrew Moir: Marked by their intimacy and powerful moments, Andrew Moir's documentaries leave you thinking long after watching them. The intricate maneuvers he manages while integrating himself into each subject's life, often spanning years, is remarkable. He has seen great success at film festivals -- four of his short films premiered at Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival. Other festivals which have featured his films include Sheffield Doc/Fest, AFI Fest, and DOC NYC. His production company, Hands Up Films, produces his docs and he is currently working on his first feature-length film, Bedside Bride, which will be released in 2020.  

Image: CBC. Used with permission.

F2F Music: David Peck and Face2Face. 

For more information about David Peck's podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here. With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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