The Neighborhood Storyteller
Best Feature Documentary
49' • United Arab Emirates • 2021
War tragically pushed Asmaa out of her home country, Syria, where her destiny had been written as a wife and mother with only 16 years of age. Asmaa rebuilt her adult identity as the neighborhood storyteller and began using reading aloud to children for fun as a bridge to tackle critical issues in her new community at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Six years later, with Asmaa’s first born daughter reaching adolescence, a flashback of her education deprived past emerges and inspires her to embark on a new read aloud project to empower teenage girls to build a future of opportunities she never had. Despite her complex living situation as a refugee and the community’s conservative mindset, Asmaa is determined to raise a conscious generation of successful women. The Neighborhood Storyteller is a documentary feature film that explores human resilience, the transition from child to adult and one's capacity to turn hardships into an opportunity for self growth.