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National Film Board

Family Motel

Helene Klodawsky / Canada / 2007 / 88 ' / English


Tony Asimakopoulos
Germán Gutiérrez
Ina Fichman & Ravida Din

Awards & Festivals

2008, Les Rendez-vous du Cinema Quebecois, Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance Through Film

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

In the alternative drama, Somali Canadian first time actors show the domino effect of becoming homeless, revealing just how close many of us are to the edge


Headstrong Ayan, a refugee from Somalia, has big dreams. New to Canada, she'll show anyone she can provide for her family. Still, it's difficult to keep it all together. On top of the soaring rent, her daughters, 16-year-old Nasrah and 13-year-old Leila, need braces. And even working two jobs as a cleaner, it's tough to find enough money to send to her anxious husband and two sons still stuck in East Africa.

Ayan's confidence is shaken when she is unexpectedly evicted for late payment of rent. It is the beginning of the summer break from school, and the city faces a severe housing shortage. Ayan and her daughters are exiled to the city's tattered hinterland among other homeless families, hookers and unsettled souls.

A vibrant and contemporary feature drama fired by a trio of remarkable debut performances, Family Motel charts one eventful summer in the lives of Ayan and her girls as they confront life on the edge.

Finding inspiration in the alternative dramas pioneered at the National Film Board of Canada as well as community-based storytelling, director Helen Klodawsky and her collaborators deftly fashion a fresh and authentic tale of falling through the cracks in a land of plenty - and a stirring portrait of dignity under fire.


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