Primary Submission Contact

Sarhang Sherwany and Saddam Al-Zubaidi

Faculty Sponsor

Elizabeth Wuerffel

Faculty Sponsor Email Address





Digital Media Program

Document Type

Oral Presentation


Spring 4-30-2015


After fleeing war in Syria and crossing the border into Kurdistan Region, Iraq, Syrian Kurds attempt to build a life in Kawergosk Refugee Camp. Music, food, and education provide families some comfort and meaning while they struggle with camp conditions and the persistence of waiting. This documentary shares the story of the of several families from Syria who are seeking safety in Kawergosk Refugee Camp and in the city of Erbil in Kurdistan Region Iraq. This project includes a 30-minute documentary film, website, and posters. The poignant refugee stories and depiction of camp life will help bring awareness of the Syrian refugee situation, the Kurdish response, and the need for international support for humanitarian aid in the region. Strategies included working as a cross-cultural team (three filmmakers from different cultures and backgrounds), skills-sharing, collaborative transcription and translation, and engagement with other faculty and students through a broad project scope (film production, graphic design, web design). Learning outcomes included increase knowledge of field and post production techniques; story and aesthetic development for film, photobook, and web; and film distribution techniques. Additional outcomes included a deepening of cultural, political, and religious awareness.

Submitters: Sarhang Sherwany and Saddam Al-Zubaidi

Faculty advisors: Yeohyun Ahn and Liz Wuerffel

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Sarhang’s biography

Sarhang Sherwany graduated with a B.A. from the Salahaddin University-Erbil’s media department. While studying there, he worked as a reporter for Rudaw newspaper, one of the most popular local newspapers in Kurdistan. Sherwany additionally worked at Kurdistan TV as a staff writer, gaining practical experience writing news stories. He currently studies in Valparaiso University’s Master of Science in Digital Media program, and is collaborating with Professor Elizabeth Wuerffel and Saddam Al-Zubaidi on a documentary film about a Syrian refugee camp in the Kurdistan region.

Saddam’s biography

Saddam Al-Zubaidi is a Fulbright scholar from Iraq with ten years of media production experience, including motion graphics and animation. He is currently enrolled in Valparaiso University's Master of Science in Digital Media program. Al-Zubaidi’s passion towards photography, videography, and filmmaking brought him to the United States and has kept him exploring cities and towns across the country.

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