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SILMA'S SCHOOL

Year: 2006

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 83 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Jane Jeffes

Produced By: Jane Jeffes

Language: English

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An Anglo-Australian convert to Islam, Silma and her husband Baheej re­mortgage their home to establish Noor Al Houda, a Muslim school in the Sydney suburbs. Their dream is to educate a generation confident in an identity both Australian and Muslim. But the dream turns sour when they discover the land they have leased is contaminated. Embroiled in a bitter legal battle, the school owes $2 million and faces bankruptcy. Meanwhile there is a school to run and students and teachers to manage. Silma wants to prove her students can get a fair go, but can the school survive while she pursues her day in court?

This moving, funny and suspenseful story is a classic David and Goliath tale which ushers its audience into the seemingly closed world of Muslims in the West. Beyond the legal drama, the story explores the experience of a minority Muslim community and provides a microcosm for some of the major issues faced by young Muslims growing up in the West in a post 9/11 era.

Heralded as a cultural landmark, the film received a standing ovation at the Sydney Film Festival, sold out in London, was a finalist for Community Portrait in the New York Festival's Television Award and short-listed for Best International Feature Documentary and Best Made for Television Documentary in DocNZ, New Zealand's annual documentary festival. It was awarded Best Multicultural Film at the Australian International Film Festival.

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