Between Earth & Sky

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Film phase:Completed


Inspired by a quest for truth and a passion to connect with Iraqis during a war that saw no end, Between Earth & Sky is a poetic journey into the lives of three, young Iraqi refugee artists, struggling to find hope through art. With dignity and candor, Saoud, Haneen, and Rahman, reveal the lives they lost in Baghdad, the lives they are now forced to live in their host countries, and the new life of beauty and freedom they long for every day. Rahman works as a clown in Syria, bringing love and laughter to young Iraqi refugee children. Haneen paints her memories, recalling the beauty of Iraqi women. Saoud, straddles the border between childhood and adolescence as he ponders his identity amidst the changes that force him to grow up. In this remarkable film about renewal, hope, and destiny, all three, express their passion for art and for life with laughter, humility, and resilience.


Between Earth & Sky is co-directed by Kalyanee Mam & David Mendez.

Kalyanee Mam is a lawyer, photographer, writer and now filmmaker. She worked as a lawyer in Iraq, assisting the Iraqi government in reforming their commercial laws. She has worked on human rights issues in various countries including Mozambique, China, South Africa, and Cambodia. Kalyanee and her family escaped war-torn Cambodia in 1979 and eventually fled to the United States as refugees in 1981. She is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA Law School.

David Mendez is a sound designer, mixer, composer and recording engineer. He is also the founder of an independent sound production company in Los Angeles. He designed the complete musical score and sound for independent filmmakers Sky Christopherson (The Greater Meaning of Water) and Mark Barnet (My Brother’s Arms), as well as the score for Angela Trevino (Mojado).