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My Enemy, My Brother


Zahed and Najah are two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life. 25 years after one saves the other’s life on the battlefield, they meet again by sheer chance in Canada.

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My Enemy, My Brother


Zahed and Najah are two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life. 25 years after one saves the other’s life on the battlefield, they meet again by sheer chance in Canada.

My Enemy my Brother_ [Robert Steel]_3.jpg

About


"Right away he changed into a human, not an enemy, not a killer. That’s what I was feeling, look like an angel coming to me now [and] coming with me in the bunker."

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About


"Right away he changed into a human, not an enemy, not a killer. That’s what I was feeling, look like an angel coming to me now [and] coming with me in the bunker."

MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER is the real life story about two former enemies who become blood brothers for life: Zahed Haftlang was an Iranian boy who ran away from home to join the army. Najah Aboud was a 19-year old Iraqi who had been conscripted to fight in the war, leaving behind his wife and son. Both men fought in the Iran-Iraq war where Zahed found Najah critically injured in a bunker and decided to risk his own life to save him. Because of Zahed, Najah’s life was spared. Their lives diverged and they didn't see nor hear of one another for 20 years, until one fateful day.

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News_index


“He catched my hand from darkness, and moved me to light.
He was showing me the way"

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News_index


“He catched my hand from darkness, and moved me to light.
He was showing me the way"

NEWS: Shortlisted for the Oscars!

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Monday, October 26

‘My Enemy, My Brother’ has been shortlisted for an Oscar by the Academy Awards!

The short documentary Oscar shortlist was announced by The Academy in a press release on Monday, October 26. The news about the ‘My Enemy, My Brother’ shortlisting has since appeared in Variety, CBC, The Toronto Star, 680 News, La Presse, and Playback.

 

Founders Prize for best documentary short

'My Enemy, My Brother' takes home the prestigious Founders Prize for Best Documentary Short at the Traverse City Film Festival! The award is juried and presented by Michael Moore and the TCFF board members.

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Awards and Screenings


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Awards and Screenings


Screenings

Tribeca International Film Festival
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
Sheffield Doc/Fest
Guanajuato International Film Festival
IDFA - International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam
Iranian Film festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
Washington West Film Festival
One World Film Festival
Ottawa International Film Festival
St. John's Women's International Film Festival
Traverse City Film Festival
Al Jazeera Film Festival
Regent Park Film Festival
ReFrame Film Festival

 

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Director’s Statement


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Director’s Statement


Director's Statement

When I first met Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud in Vancouver back in 2012, they seemed like any other Middle Eastern immigrants settling into new lives: Zahed was working as a mechanic, while Najah ran a small furniture moving company. But when I sat down with them over cups of mint tea to listen to their story, I was moved to tears. I’ve been helping them tell it ever since.

Zahed Haftlang was only thirteen years when he joined Iran’s Basij regiment to fight in the Iran-Iraq War. It was the most brutal war of the latter 20th century - where more than 100,000 child soldiers were sent to the front lines and chemical weapons were used for the first time since World War I.

Zahed’s decision to save Najah during the war was fueled by compassion that required courage and determination, and entailed keeping Najah, his enemy, alive for three days with smuggled medical supplies. This one act changed the path of both their lives for decades to come.

Few people have the opportunity to live through a miraculous moment, but Najah and Zahed’s ongoing story continues to surprise and inspire. This short documentary follows their journey. And I have continued to document the two men as their story goes on. In the coming months, each plans to return to the Middle East to search for remnants of the life he left behind. Zahed wishes to see his father, who now has brain cancer. And having finally received his Canadian citizenship, Najah plans to go back to Iraq to search for his son and wife, whom he has not seen since leaving for the war.

To me, their story transcends the cascade of often negative news coverage coming out of the Middle East. Against the backdrop of conflict in the region, the story of Najah and Zahed is a surprising affirmation of humanity that cuts across political borders.