Helene Klodawsky’s No More Tears Sister, a documentary about Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, a tireless crusader for human rights in Sri Lanka, aired on POV in 2006. Her latest film, Family Motel, will have its New York premiere this weekend as part of the Canadian Front series at the Museum of Modern Art.

Family MotelThis weekend, Helene Klodawsky’s Family Motel will have its New York premiere at the Museum of Modern Art. The film follows Ayan, a Somalian refugee in Canada, and her two daughters as they struggle to cope with a sudden eviction and find themselves in a motel in a seedy neighborhood. The film is Klodawsky’s first fiction feature, and it was shot on location with a nonprofessional cast.

The film has been well received in Canada, where Family Motel recently won the Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance Through Film, from one of Quebec’s largest festivals, Les Rendez-vous du Cinema Quebecois. “… this is a film of great cinematographic quality that has extremely rich content and a moving and captivating story,” explained the jury.

And it has already received some great reviews:

Family Motel is one of the most important and affecting movies I’ve ever taken in. It speaks for the millions of marginalized refugees in the West with a degree of realism and authenticity I don’t think I’ve ever seen on film before. Five stars for both content and cinematic art.”
(Vanity Fair)

“A hard-working Somalian immigrant and her teenage girls fall victim to high rents and payments to other family members back home and slip through the Ottawa social safety net into homelessness. This gripping NFB-Instinct Films co-production resurrects the powerful fiction/documentary tradition of alternative drama and introduces the amazing non-actor family of Nargis Jibril and daughters Asha and Sagal.”
(Montreal Gazette **** four stars)

If you’re in New York, check out the film at one of its two screenings at MoMA:

Saturday, March 15, 2008, 2:00 p.m., MoMA Theater 1, T1

Monday, March 17, 2008, 6:00 p.m., MoMA Theater 1, T1

For more information, visit the Canadian Front, 2008 website. Family Motel is part of the Canadian Front series, organized by Laurence Kardish of the Department of Film at MoMA, and presented in association with Telefilm Canada.

Published by

Catherine Jhee was formerly a producer with POV Interactive.