Soufra

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USA | 2017 | 68 minutes | Thomas Morgan

In an inspirational story of passion, determination, and the unifying power of food, a group of women living in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut start the collaborative catering company Soufra (Arabic for "dining table"), which leads to surprising and savory success despite a myriad of obstacles.

"A stirring tale of empowerment, the documentary Soufra shows how societal change can begin with small steps." Andy Webster - New York Times

The very definition of inspirational, Soufra tells the improbable story of a woman born in a refugee camp who becomes an entrepreneur and founds her own catering company. Mariam Shaar has lived her whole life in Bourj el-Barajneh on the outskirts of Beirut. Determined to improve her circumstances, she starts her own business with other women from the camp. As they teach one another recipes, they share their stories and cultural backgrounds; equally important is the energizing sense of purpose and self-worth they gain from the experience. Having started with school lunches and private parties, their next goal is to run a food truck. But the obstacles they face are formidable. Soufra is the first such business run from within a refugee camp. In Lebanon, refugees are not eligible for citizenship; they are also restricted from certain professions. There is seemingly endless red tape over licensing, but Mariam persists, working the phones, overseeing the kitchen, running a Kickstarter campaign, and learning to drive. Come for the rousing story of women's empowerment, but stay for the food. With its mouthwatering close-ups of musakhan and frikeh, Soufra, which means a table of delicious plenty in Arabic, is a multi-faceted delight.

Director Biography
Working as a real estate developer and investment banker before turning to film, Thomas Morgan left the business world in 2009 to dedicate his skills to filmmaking, documentary, and activism. His films have been labeled "Filmanthropy" for their truthful narratives of human suffering while encouraging loud calls to action. He has spoken many times on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as well as twice before the U.S. Congress. In addition, Morgan has also given TED Talks in the past, such as the talk titled "Put On Your Underoos It's Time To Save The World" in 2013.

Sponsored by Seattle Met, Sponsor-A-Film: Jean Johnson & Pete Miller, Chloe Wine Collection

  • Director: Thomas Morgan
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 68 minutes
  • Producer: Trevor Hall, Thomas Morgan, Kathleen Glynn, Craig Piligian
  • Screenplay: Thomas Morgan
  • Cinematographers: Johny Karam
  • Editors: Mohamed El Manasterly
  • Music: Alex Seaver, Ken Joseph
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Lucky Me (2017); Storied Streets (2014)
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP