My Enemy, My Brother (2015)

| Documentary, Animation, Short | 17 April 2015 (USA)

New York Times Short Film Documentary – My Enemy, My Brother 2015

Summaries

  • 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 finds Najah injured in a bunker and decides to risk his own life to save him. Zahed kept Najah alive for days, after which Najah was finally taken as a prisoner of war. Their lives diverge and they don’t see nor hear of one another for 20 years until one day they meet by sheer coincidence in Vancouver.

 

My Enemy, My Brother (2017)

| Documentary, History, War | 11 November 2017 (USA)

Summaries

  • The true story of 2 enemies from the Iran-Iraq war; one saves the other’s life on the battlefield, then they meet again by sheer coincidence 20 years later in Canada. Inspired by their miraculous reunion, Najah and Zahed face down their fears and post-traumatic stress and head back to Iraq and Iran to search for missing loved ones. Their journey takes them into the heart of present-day conflicts in a region ravaged by war and ISIS. Their journey is a surprising affirmation of humanity and redemption. (This feature length film is DIFFERENT from the short film of the same title, which was nominated for an Emmy and shortlisted for an Oscar)
  • My Enemy, My Brother (feature documentary) tells the true story of two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life. Zahed, an Iranian, risked his life to save a wounded Iraqi soldier, Najah. 25 years later, they meet again by sheer chance in Canada, and decide to return to their homelands to look for missing loved ones. Their journey takes them into the heart of present-day conflicts in a region ravaged by war and ISIS. Their quest is a surprising affirmation of redemption and humanity.

 

http://www.myenemymybrothermovie.com

Creative Team

Ann Shin Director/Producer, Fathom Film Group
Melanie Horkan Producer, Fathom Film Group
Duraid Munajim, DoP (The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty)
James Milward, Executive Producer, Secret Location
Pietro Gagliano, Creative Director, Secret Location

Project Elements

Broadcast film; interactive web series and legacy website designed for mobile and desktop access; integrated social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook); data visualizations (Google Maps API, famo.us, Processing JS; message boards.

Genre

Non-fiction

Language

English, Arabic and Farsi

Target Audience

This incredible story invites engagement from a broad audience with the primary target being men aged 25 to 65, secondary being women aged 30 to 65. The digital media project will have a compelling call to action to help search for missing loved ones. Primary audiences for the digital will be women aged 20 to 55 and men aged 18 to 55.

Logline

A chance encounter in the Iran-Iraq War turns two enemy soldiers into blood brothers for life. Living as exiles in Canada, they now return to Iraq and Iran to search for a missing wife, son and parents. What will they find in their troubled homelands after being away for 25 years?

Synopsis

My Brother, My Enemy is the true story about two former enemies who become blood brothers for life: Zahed Haftlang was a 13-year-old 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 injured in a bunker. Going against all his training, Zahed risked his own life to save this enemy soldier. He smuggled medical supplies to keep Najah alive for days, after which Najah was finally taken as a prisoner of war.

Their lives diverged and they didn’t see nor hear of one another for 20 years until one day they met by sheer coincidence in Vancouver. Two decades later, in a foreign country, they are together again.

Bolstered by one another’s support, they will now return to look for missing family in Iran and Iraq. Najah will seek his missing wife and son and Zahed will return with his teenage daughter to look for his parents. For both men the stakes are very high: Najah has never remarried. On this trip he will discover whether his wartime sweetheart is alive or dead and hopefully find his son, Jed, whom he last saw as a baby. Ironically, rumour has it that Jed joined the army hoping to find his father. Zahed will take the brave step of confronting the father who terrorised him so much as a child that he ran away from home and never returned.
For all the coverage of the Middle East, there are precious few stories that provide breadth and depth of understanding of this region. My Enemy, My Brother is a unique window into the Sunni-Shia conflict that played out in the Iran-Iraq War and has now plunged Iraq deep into civil war today. Against this backdrop the emotional story of Najah and Zahed is a surprising affirmation of humanity that cuts across political borders.