SONGS THAT NEVER END

SONGS THAT NEVER END

THE FILM

Having fled their home in Iran, the Dayan family is greeted in Houston with hurricanes and perilous politics. Nine-year-old Hana is bold and brilliant and struggles to be heard while her family comes to grips with life in the sprawling Texan metropolis, constantly reaching out to all that is gone but is still here: a hunger for the future, and songs about a kind world.

DESCRIPTION

Songs that Never End is about what can never die; what cannot be stored in a luggage or language but yet still remains; always present even when it is unseen and cannot be touched. 

Often, when we encounter refugee youth in mainstream media we are asked to regret losing the promise of their youth or begged to donate dollars or sentiments, but not necessarily care about them or the complexity of their experiences. Songs That Never End is a lyrical and poetic meditation on the experience of displacement. It intimately portrays the emotional histories embedded in acts of border-crossing where one blockage leads to another, and immigration doesn’t necessarily end in one place or another. 

Through the eyes of the nine-year-old Hana and her fourteen-old-brother, Ali, the viewer is allowed to see how this deep anguish and craving for a safe haven has impacted the ways we live and feel as a society. By feeling we don’t think about cheap sentimentality as manipulation in an effort to empty any dialogue. We use the word emotion as a way to refer to this sensitivity and this precious ability to sense and feel, reminding us of our connectedness and shared experiences, and all that is always greater than us. 

What are the challenges of border-crossing from the perspective of youth, who are still shaping their world views? How do they gradually acknowledge the war waged against them? To see those shapeless moments of honest chaos, we go underwater to a space of instability where many things are in motion. To show those spaces where nothing is stable, nothing remains, exploitation and trauma prevent motion, we must put our audience into an entirely new perspective. An ocean of banal waves, rhythmically depicting existence where our fathers and mothers drown and then resurface in night shifts. 

THE TEAM

YEHUDA SHARIM | DIRECTOR, EDITOR, PRODUCER, WRITER, SOUND, CINEMATOGRAPHER

Yehuda Sharim is a poet and filmmaker. His films, from We Are In It (2016) to Seeds of All Things (2018), appeared in various film festivals, artistic venues, and universities across the world. While excavating emotional and intimate histories of border crossing and the migration of souls, his work provides a comparative study of displacement, shedding light on the changing constructions of home and belonging. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Program of Global Art Studies, University of California, Merced.

LORENA ALVARADO | ACTOR, WRITER, EDIT TEAM

From Huntington Park, CA, Lorena Alvarado is a poet and scholar, who is interested in the relationship between poetry and filmmaking. Her writing and editing is inspired by the music her working-class, immigrant parents introduced to her early on: rancheras, banda, norteñas, and baladas. Lorena is currently working on her new poetry book and multimedia project, The Book of Zumba.

FLORA SHARIM | EDIT TEAM

Flora Sharim has always been a passionate film lover, even after returning home from her daily job, she found film as a way of breathing, being, and surviving. This is her first film project.  Since my mother doesn’t speak English, here is what she asked to write on her behalf:  "I want you to say that you are the reason why I'm here." 

FEDERICO LLACH | COMPOSER 

Musically raised in Buenos Aires as a jazz performer, Federico creates music that seeks to combine the old and the new. His sound palette has been forever changed as a result of his experience with modular synthesizers, samplers and electronics of all kinds, which usually appear uniquely blended with acoustic instruments in his music. He founded the Now Hear Ensemble, a group of classically trained musicians collaborating with composers working with electronics and intermedia.

MICAELA SHARIM | EDITOR, CREATIVE TEAM 

Micaela Sharim, a native of Houston, Texas, lives and works in Merced, CA, as a visionary film artist, who is interested in always challenging the medium of film, and expanding upon what most of us consider the visual. Her involvement with each film is always a source of inspiration and deep joy. In her next project, Letters2Maybe, Micaela is collecting visual letters carried by new arrivals to the USA, narrating mundane engagement with absence and loss. She considers film to be a medicine and hope, where what we see is charged and filled with healing qualities.  

ABBAS DAYAN | EDIT TEAM

Abbas Dayan always dreamt of being a filmmaker. From his early childhood years in Iran, he was attracted to all that cinema can offer: kindness, new visions, a dark room where strangers meet, and then share an adventure. Before studying engineering, he participated in various theatrical and film productions. After his father asked him to find a more reliable job, he graduated as Gas industries Engineer and he has more than 12 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He has four children, and Songs that Never End is his first film.

KARLA DE JESUS | CREATIVE ADVISOR

Karla's main source of inspiration comes from nature and her activist work together with undocumented communities across Houston. She has used her cultural and childhood memories to create spaces for self-love, creativity, and courage. With a certification in programming, Karla is a data guru by day and a salsa dancer by night. Karla strives to inspire marginalized communities and help them grow within. This is her second film project after an early collaboration in the making of We Are In It (2016).  

HUSSEIN ALKHUDHARI | CREATIVE ADVISOR

Hussein Alkhudhari has been recognized as one of the leading Iraqi artists, painting and documenting the plight of the Iraqi people, as they have been fighting for freedom, justice, and equality in Iraq. His paintings have appeared in a growing number of exhibitions and activists events in Baghdad, most recently his work will travel across CA in a number of artistic venues. This is his second film project, after an early collaboration with Yehuda Shaim in the making of We Are In It (2016).  

ANA LARIOS | CREATIVE IMPACT TEAM

Born in Mexico and raised in a Spanish speaking house-hold in Merced, where she has lived for most of her life, Ana is currently independently studying film with Bianca Lopez under Yehuda Sharim. When she is not busy with school work and writing poetry, she works part-time at Panera Bread. For now, she is focusing on completing her college education and pushing herself beyond her limits. Ana is currently a second year-student at the University of California Merced. 

BIANCA LOPEZ MUNOZ | CREATIVE IMPACT TEAM

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Bianca was born and raised in San Jose. She loves big cities but also enjoys exploring the outdoors. Bianca is passionate about people and social justice issues and hopes that her future career fulfils her need to help and nurture others. Bianca writes poetry and is currently independently studying film with Ana Larios under Yehuda Sharim. Bianca is currently a second-year-student at the University of California Merced.

PRESS KIT

LOGLINE


Having fled their home in Iran, the Dayan family is greeted in Houston with hurricanes and perilous politics. Nine-year-old Hana is bold and brilliant and struggles to be heard while her family comes to grips with life in the sprawling Texan metropolis, constantly reaching out to all that is gone but is still here: a hunger for the future, and songs about a kind world.

TECHNICAL SPECS

HD-Digital, Color
Filmed in: Houston, Texas
Running time: 1:54:00 min
Ratio: 16:9
Digital frame rate: 23.976
Screening format: Blue-Ray, DCP, DVD
Language: English, Farsi
Subtitles: English

REVIEWS

Anna Song

review

In “Songs that Never End”, Film artist and scholar Yehuda Sharim weaves a beautiful tapestry illustrating the beauty and bleakness in the lives of one refugee family, who are dealing with the trauma of escaping political unrest and persecution while finding themselves in the midst of an uphill journey to adjust to American life in Houston, TX. Although it’s easy to interpret Professor Sharim’s film as a glimpse into a refugee family’s daily travails, that take would be incredibly simplistic and unfair. What unfolds in this family’s stories are within-family struggles that are clearly microcosms of larger societal and cultural issues that each family member faces….Perhaps the most important aspect of Sharim’s film is that it is a brutally honest depiction of refugee life in America. The complexities and consequences of diaspora, especially for individuals and their families, are laid out in their raw forms. The depiction of the psychological and practical complexities of refugee life makes the work a “must-see” piece of scholarship for any student in the fields of social justice and equity. Indeed, I am requiring my own students, both undergraduate and graduate, to view this film. Although many of my students are also children of immigrants, as time passes, the tragedies and triumphs of those who came before us lose their vividness, and perhaps, their poignancy. The fading of those experiences is probably the blessing of healing and resilience, even if we need to remember and honor those experiences. However, Sharim’s film will be an enduring reminder of the experiences of all of our forebears face: hardship, coping, and a strong need to make sense of the world. As is true for everyone, sometimes they succeeded and sometimes they struggled. However, despite the hardships and hurdles, like the Dayan Family, they also experienced moments of wonder, dances of innocence, giggles in jest, and sing songs that can’t be ignored.”

- Professor, and Head of NCPC (Nicotine & Cannabis Policy Center), UC Merced

“Songs That Never End is a fascinating, compelling, and mesmerizing film. It focuses on seemingly small events inside small spaces to pose big questions about how people struggle with the hand that history has dealt them in a time of devastation, dispossession, and displacement. Filmed in cinema verité style, yet brilliantly shot, framed, and paced by director, camera operator, and interviewer Yehuda Sharim, Songs That Never End revolves around the everyday life experiences, events, injuries, and aspirations of an Iranian immigrant family living in a small apartment in Houston. Across nearly two hours of cinema, it sutures together a series of short scenes that convey chaos and unpredictability in the lives of these refugees who never find refuge, these exiles for whom exile never ends…….Sharim’ s eye for detail leads the film to present a series of memorable images replete with evocations of cultural conflict, contrast, and coalescence. Samira wears a t-shirt that features Minnie Mouse. Hana wears one that proclaims “after this there’s pizza.” The children are charged with shining shoes that somehow never become quite clean. Farsi melodramas compete for audibility with songs by Justin Timberlake. Hana playfully wears a blonde wig that brings home the contrasts between who she is and the value system of the society in which she lives. Hana runs back and forth in the parking lot of the apartment complex where she lives as if to simulate the dialectic of mobility and immobility that hovers over the family. The film ends with lingering looks at the damage done from flooding in Houston neighborhoods caused by a hurricane. These scenes metaphorically represent the damage done on a large scale to people and the planet by global catastrophes that compel people to deal with loss and start over in the ways that the family featured in this film has been forced to do.”

-George Lipsitz

January, 2020

Full Review

In “Songs that Never End”, Film artist and scholar Yehuda Sharim weaves a beautiful tapestry illustrating the beauty and bleakness in the lives of one refugee family, who are dealing with the trauma of escaping political unrest and persecution while finding themselves in the midst of an uphill journey to adjust to American life in Houston, TX. Although it’s easy to interpret Professor Sharim’s film as a glimpse in to a refugee family’s daily travails, that take would be incredibly simplistic and unfair. What unfolds in this family’s stories are within-family struggles that are clearly microcosms of larger societal and cultural issues that each family member faces….Perhaps the most important aspect of Sharim’s film is that it is a brutally honest depiction of refugee life in America. The complexities and consequences of diaspora, especially for individuals and their families, are laid out in their raw forms. The depiction of the psychological and practical complexities of refugee life makes the work a“must-see” piece of scholarship for any student in the fields of social justice and equity.Indeed, I am requiring my own students, both undergraduate and graduate, to view this film. Although many of my students are also children of immigrants, as time passes, the tragedies and triumphs of those who came before us lose their vividness, and perhaps, their poignancy. The fading of those experiences is probably the blessing of healing and resilience, even if we need to remember and honor those experiences. However, Sharim’s film will be an enduring reminder of the experiences of all of our forebears face: hardship, coping, and a strong need to make sense of the world. As is true for everyone, sometimes they succeeded and sometimes they struggled. However, despite the hardships and hurdles, like the Dayan Family, they also experienced moments of wonder, dances of innocence, giggles in jest, and sing songs that can’t be ignored.”

-Anna Song

Feburary, 2020

Full Review

Screenings

2020

World Premiere
International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, Vienna, Austria
May 7-14: https://www.ethnocineca.at/en/songs-that-never-end/
Mimesis Documentary Film Festival, Boulder, Colorado
August 12-18

Harlem International Film Festival, New York, NY
September 10-13

Houston Premiere, Rice Cinema, Houston, TX
September 24-25: SONGS THAT NEVER END - Best US Documentary 2020 (Runner-up), Williamsburg International Film Competition

Gallup Film Festival, New Mexico
September 24-26

Virginia Tech
October 8

University of California, Santa Barbara
October 14
Mainz, Germany
October 22
Wuppertal, Germany
October 29-30

OUR DEMAND

After sharing rough-cuts of Songs that Never End with students and community members alike, we had no doubt: so SO many of us are Hana and Ali (and Abbas and Samira) of this world. We formed the ABC Collective - which consists of Ana Larios, Bianca Lopez Munoz, and Yehuda Sharim - and shaped the following:

The struggles that immigrant families face are not being talked about, though many of us have  shared experiences. We want to reach out and open up the conversation.. We, like many other children of immigrant parents, have felt as though we were alone. But, we are far from that. Mexican. Vietnamese. Persian. Eritrean. Iraqi. Congolese. Etc. We are all in this together. We want to encourage others to not be silent. Our rights, and the rights of future immigrants depend on our voices. We demand to be seen. 

We invite you to share your writing with us -- see our contact page

QUIEN Y DONDE? 

At home, 
but where is home? 
If Turkey is hell, is America paradise? 
Who is responsible for your confusion? Iran? Mexico? El Salvador? USA?
Farsi? Spanish? 
Mother’s pilaf? tortillas? 
Anger makes people older and turmoil? 
How old are you now Ali? 
and yesterday? 
“Everyone deserves happiness and loveness.” Which planet is this on? 
Let us follow you. 
Sorrow that never ends Rejection that never ends 
Unrelenting burdens Sung by a choir, A song that never ends. 
So what are our dreams, 
Tell me, do you have dreams? 
What do you think? Isn’t it time?
Our time. 

OUR PARENTS

Coming late. 
Leaving early. 
You’re in my dreams. 
Trabajas como un burro. 
Amas como un león. 
Y me duele el corazon. 
Where are you under all that tired? 
Buried by your burden, But you never complain.
 
Como lo haces? 
I want to be like you.  
Resilient. 
With any small inconvenience, 
I want to give up, rajarme. 
Pero tu me das poder,
 Y me pongo las pilas. 
A superhero In the flesh. 
Your hands.
 Your bones. 
Your love does not settle. 
 What do I tell you when thank you is not enough? 

Amor eterno, 
How do I comfort you when you are in pain? 
It seems to me que tu espiritu se unde and you forget who you are. 
You are important.  
You are a force of nature that this planet is not able to handle.
 You are light. 
You are all the good things in the world. 
You are love. 

MISCELLANEOUS

I am Miscellaneous. 
I have never been too sure where to belong. 
I'm not from here, 
But I don’t fit there.  
Please tell me.
 Where do I go? 
Many places have felt like a home to me. 
Temporarily.  
Even when, for a while, they seemed permanent. 
Can a home be temporary? 
Like an item from your junk drawer, 
I’ve been picked up and moved elsewhere. 
The hidden container for the chocolate collection. 
The medicine cabinet. 
The shelf.
 The junk drawer.

I AM HANA

I am Hana. 
Hana is me. 
She is a battle that nobody else can see. 
Constantly fighting the requirement to shrink. 
To contain the fire within her.
 “Calladita te ves más bonita.” 
Daughters are to be reminded that our silence makes us look lovely. 
As though being lovely is something that we have to be.
 As though our fire makes us unpleasant. 
Yet the fire in our brothers make them brave.
 “Calladita te ves más bonita.”
 A phrase that we learn to repeat to ourselves like a song when we cry.
 Daughters are brave too.
 but heaven forbid that our daughters be unpleasant.  
Lovely loses its place as an adjective. It becomes a command.  
A threat. 
Silence.
 Be lovely. 
“Calladita te ves más Bonita.” 
Silence makes you look lovely. 
Silencio. 
Dime que soy mucho mas que bonita. 
Dime que soy valiente. 
Tell me that I am brave. 
Don’t ask me to be silent when the fire inside of me screams.

DEMAND EXISTENCE

It finds you, 
makes you small undeserving. 
It asks you to forget yourself and we are so willing,
Willing because we are survivors Not specks. 
Do not doubt your magnificence. 
That is how they infiltrate our dreams. 
Doubt is a virus. 
This universe does not have our back 
We don’t have our own planet 
But protest, reject 
We will not be lost. 
Find each other, and create. 
Magnificent souls. 
Brilliant spirits 
Do not downsize.  
Do not accommodate. 
That is how we crumble. 

CONTACT

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PRESS INQUIRIES AND SALES
sharimfilms@gmail.com
Tel: 818-961-6949

CONTACT FOR FILM SCREENINGS AND TALKS
contact@sharimstudio.com

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