Being Osama

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Being Osama
Five Men Named Osama.JPG
Five Montreal men who happened to have the name "Osama"
Directed by Mahmoud Kaabour
Tim Schwab
Produced by Diversus [ca]
Written by Mahmoud Kaabour
Starring Osama (Sam) Shalabi
Ossama al-Sarraf
Ossama el-Naggar
Osama el-Demerdash
Oussama al-Jundi
Osama Dorias
Music by Osama (Sam) Shalabi
Release date
November 2004
Country Canada
Language English

Being Osama is an award-winning documentary produced in 2004 by Tim Schwab and Mahmoud Kaabour. Director Mahmoud Kaabour is the founder and managing director of Veritas Films, now based in the United Arab Emirates.[1][2] Co-director Tim Schwab is an Associate Professor of film at Concordia University.[3]


The documentary details the lives of six Montreal Arab men, all with the first name "Osama":

  • Osama (Sam) Shalabi, of Egyptian origin, a music composer who grew up in Atlantic Canada. He is a leading member of the Montreal-based instrumental band, Shalabi Effect. He composed the soundtrack for Being Osama.[4]
  • Ossama al-Sarraf (better known as Sultan), a Christian Palestinian-Canadian DJ who wears dreadlocks. He is one-half of the DJ duo Sultan + Ned Shepard.
  • Ossama el-Naggar, an Egyptian-Canadian musical expert and importer of opera and classical music CDs living in Canada for over 20 years
  • Osama el-Demerdash, an Egyptian, who is very politically active regarding issues surrounding immigrant rights and deportation of refugees
  • Oussama al-Jundi, a Lebanese-Canadian who runs a Muslim school in Montreal
  • Osama Dorias, an Iraqi-Canadian and devout Muslim whose family fled Saddam Hussein's regime while he will still a young child. His father has recently returned to Iraq and portrayed as a university graduate and a basketball player involved in organizing a Muslim basketball league in a Montreal suburb.

They all recount their experiences in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Reception and distribution[edit]

The film has been recognized as a contribution to the intellectual and artistic debate about the Arab diaspora.[5] It has appeared on many international television, documentary and news channels.

Mahmoud Kaabour also presented it in a two-hour special on the Zaven Kouyoumdjian pan-Arab talk show “Seereh w Enfatahit” (Arabic,سيرة وانفتحت) on the Lebanese Future Television channel.[6] [7]


Being Osama has won a number of international awards, including:

  • Best Documentary at the University Film and Video Conference
  • Best Documentary award at the Big Muddy Film Festival at Southern Illinois University
  • An Aurora Award (for Best Documentary) at the Canadian National Youth Film Festival
  • Certificate of Merit for fighting racism from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mahmoud Kaabour at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Veritas Films
  3. ^ "Tim Schwab". Archived from the original on 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  4. ^ Sam Shalabi at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ The Personal is Geopolitical: Horror and grace at the Third Annual Arab Film Festival at; by Caroline Palmer; published November 9, 2005; retrieved September 1, 2013
  6. ^ Being Osama at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ "Being Osama". Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  " 'Being Osama', directed by Dubai-based filmmaker Mahmoud Kaabour" (2007) The Dubai Journal.
  8. ^ Review – "At a Glance" (April 21, 2005) Concordia's Thursday Report Vol.29 No.14

External links[edit]