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Documentary reveals ‘full spectrum of expatriate life in UAE’

ABU DHABI // The director of A Place Called Home believes his film is an insight into “the full spectrum of expatriate life in the UAE”.

The documentary, produced by Abu Dhabi Media, which also publishes this newspaper, is available to watch in full on The National’s website from today.

Director John Sammon said the film “shines a light on some of the harsh realities of people’s lives before coming to the UAE, and shows some of the life-altering accomplishments they have made since arriving in the country”.

After Sammon’s company, Saluki Media, was commissioned to make the feature, he and producer Nancy Saade went about trying to find case studies that encapsulated the expat experience. The crew also travelled to Serbia, the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh to meet the families of the film’s subjects.

“Selecting our final five was not easy, but we are so happy with all of them,” Sammon said.

He gave the example of Kalam Noor, a Bangladeshi.

“His story begins as he leaves his family in Bangladesh to travel to the UAE to work in a factory. He opens a small tailoring business, and after some time he brings his family over.”

Now, Mr Noor runs four successful tailor shops, specialising in making kanduras.

Sammon said: “The amazing thing is that he is also single-handedly supporting hundreds of families … in Bangladesh.

“The people in his village look at him like he’s superman or something. He’s built mosques, given hundreds of people employment and he’s saving families from starvation.”

Sammon hoped the film would give a balanced view of the role and treatment of expatriate workers in the UAE. “The film is an eye opener and gives a broader understanding of the opportunities available to expat workers … and paints an intimate portrait of the risks they have taken.

“I like to think that the film is at once sad, hopeful, inspirational, and thoroughly human.”


A Place Called Home:

The five UAE expats who took on the world

Cameraman on UAE documentary moved by subject’s stories


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(via The National)