Boston Filmmaker Raouf Zaki Visits the Media Education Lab

Distinguished filmmaker Raouf Zaki, who created "Not Your Average Arab" and "Santa Claus in Baghdad," will visit the Media Education Lab on Wednesday, May 13 as part of the Media Literacy and Global Understanding Project. 

He will visit children at the Roberts Elementary School, who have been studying the Middle East and learning how the media shapes people's interpretations of the region. Check back on these pages for photos and videos of his interaction with kids!

Raouf Zaki of RA Visions, an independent production company in the Boston area, based the story on a terrific book by Ella Marston.  Working on a shoestring budget, he found a terrific cast--from age six to sixty--but to create colorful, authentic-looking "Baghdad" sets and crowd scenes in Boston, with some backgrounds shot in Cairo. The Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife,one of the best-known composers and performers in Arab music today, gave permission for his music to be used in the film.

"Santa Claus in Baghdad" premiered at the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival in August. Among other screenings, it had an SRO premiere for metropolitan Boston, was an audience favorite at the San Diego Children's Film Festival, and received an award from the Kids First! film festival.

The film is now available on DVD, which includes educational material such as a discussion guide for classroom use and a "behind the scenes" view of the excitement, confusion, and creativity that go on at a studio shoot. Raouf the Filmmaker wants to make the film--and the insights it offers into better understanding of the Middle East--easily available to public schools. Please see the film's, also a link from this website--for information about prices.