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(2015)(Qatar)

Follow the riches-to-rags story of a high-spirited village man in his ambitious journey to the United Arab Emirates. Filmed over a course of six months, this documentary aims to rewrite the migrant narrative.

There are more than 230 million migrant workers in the world, the majority of whom travel from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in search of greener pastures. Each of them has a tale to tell. This is the story of how Sharif, a 30-year old farmer from the remote Pakistani village of Hakimwala [translation: Of The Rulers] makes an extraordinary journey from his small village to the cosmopolitan life in the UAE. This documentary gives a unique insight into how Sharif, man of influence in his own village, deals with the loss of his authority and struggles with his new identity. Exploring the fallibility of human nature and the internal struggles faced by individuals who leave their home behind, this is a story full of humor, heart and hope – in short, it is not your average migrant worker story.

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Directed by Syed Owais Ali

Syed Owais Ali is a senior at Northwestern University in Qatar’s undergraduate communication program. He hails from Pakistan but his family migrated to the U.A.E. when he was 10 years old. “Of The Rulers” is Ali’s first documentary and is funded by the university’s student run group, Studio 20Q. Previously, Ali produced and co-directed a short narrative film, Mohammad, which premiered at Chicago South Asian Film Festival in 2014 and was nominated for Best Narrative in Zayed University Middle Eastern Film Festival in Abu Dhabi.

Screening Block A, Friday at 7 PM

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