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Iraqi Refugee, photographer Wesaam Al-Badry, journeys home for the first time to see what’s happened to his extended family & the marshes of southern Iraq.
Wesaam Al-Badry
Lincoln, Nebraska
United States
3 Team Members


FISHING FOR HOPE follows Iraqi-American photographer Wesaam Al-Badry as he journeys back home for the first time to see what’s happened to his extended family and others in the marshes of southern Iraq. Al-Badry fled his homeland in 1991, when he was eight, with his parents and six brothers and sisters just as Marsh Arabs began an insurrection against Saddam Hussein. Saddam crushed the rebellion and then drained the marshes, causing a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe. Twenty years later, the marshes are starting to make a comeback. FISHING FOR HOPE will chronicle Al-Badry’s journey and the journey of the Marsh Arabs. 

After leaving Iraq, Al-Badry spent more than six years living in a tent in a Saudi refugee camp before he and his family landed in Lincoln, Nebraska. The young Al-Badry carried with him the rage of a boy uprooted and dispossessed, a child forced to fend for himself and his family first in the violence and anarchy of the refugee camp and then in a cold and strange land. He took up boxing and fought frequently inside and outside the ring, often landing in the police lockup. Photography has been his ticket from violence. 

Al-Badry will capture the story of the Marsh Arabs through the lens of a world class photographer, shooting video of his journey and stills of the images he finds in the place he once called home. He will interview members of his extended family, who have endured hardships under Saddam and during the recent occupation, as well as widows, orphans and others who are only now feeling the first sense of hope.


We cannot make this documentary possible without you. We need your help. Our goal is to raise $20,000 which will be used for travel to and from Iraq, travel documentation, filming licenses, transportation and accomadations for the crew in Iraq, fees for the local Iraqi guides/fixers, and post-production editing. 

This is a large undertaking given that the filming will take place in another country, and we are asking for just enough to cover our costs. If you have more questions or require a further breakdown of costs, message us, and we will be happy to provide you with a cost allocation schedule.



Wesaam Al-Badry: Director & Photograher/Videographer. Al-Badry, largely self taught, spends much of his time taking pictures of the invisible and forgotten and freelancing with CNN. His striking portraits of Arab women in the United States attracted the attention of gallery owners in the Midwest and has been featured in The Huffington Post and in newspapers across the Globe. www.wesaamphoto.com


David Steen Martin: Writer & Executive Producer. Martin has almost twenty years of experience making documentaries at CNN on a wide range of topics. Many of these won national and international awards. Some of which include: Executive Producer of The Last Heart Attack, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and former President Bill Clinton, in 2011; Executive Producer of Toxic Towns USA, an Emmy nominated documentary, in 2010; and, Executive Producer of Delivering Grace, a documentary in production, scheduled for release in 2013. www.dofortheonemovie.com/#!about/c14qb



Tamara Abdul Hadi: Photographer. Tamara was born to Iraqi parents in the UAE and raised in Montreal, Canada. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts she has worked as a photojournalist for Reuters, New York Times (UAE), and The Gaurdian to name a few. www.tamarabdulhadi.com




Maliha Zuberi: Accounting, public relations, and post-production. Maliha has a Masters of Science in actuarial science with a specialization in finance. She currently works in dispute and litigation consulting.






As someone who speaks Arabic and whose family has deep roots in southern Iraq, Al-Badry has unique access to this story. It’s important to tell this story now – the 20th anniversary of the draining of the marshes.

FISHING FOR HOPE raises issues of home and homeland, about what constitutes a culture – and what obligation we all have when a way of life falls victim to the forces of war. 



We know it's hard with the current economic times but any help counts! If some people just can’t contribute, it doesn’t mean they can’t help. Here are other ways to help us out:

  • Please consider taking a moment to tell your friends, family and colleagues about our project and the IndieGoGo Campaign
  • You can use the Indigogo Share Tools to get the word out about our project


We thank you for your time and appreciate all your help from the bottom of our hearts. Every donation will help to give voice to the voiceless and the oppressed!

Thank You,

"Fishing For Hope" Production Team

Find This Campaign On
raised by 98 people in 1 month
34% funded
No time left
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 16, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Shout Out

    You just helped us get a refugee child's voice heard! Here's a virtual "high five"! We will also give you a shout out on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you so much for your help!

    12 claimed
  • $25USD
    Digital Image (DI)

    You just helped us get an Iraqi orphan's story heard! You will get a 5 x 7 downloadable digital image of a unique photograph that will be featured in the project + A Thank You on Facebook and Twitter

    20 claimed
  • $50USD
    Signed Postcard +

    You just helped us tell a refugee's story! You will receive a postcard with a picture from the documentary signed by Wesaam Al-Badry + A downloadable digital image + A shout out on Facebook and Twitter

    15 claimed
  • $100USD
    T-Shirt +

    You just helped us get to a remote part of Iraq and tell the Marsh Arab's story! You will receive a special edition T-Shirt featuring the documentary's graphic with Arabic and English text + A signed postcard + A downloadable digital Image + A thank you on Facebook and Twitter! T-Shirt sizes: S, M, L, XL

    11 claimed
  • $250USD
    Signed Poster +

    You just helped us get a guide to take us to the Marsh Arab Tribes! You get a documentary poster signed by the entire production team + A special edition T-Shirt + A downloadable digital image + A thank you on Facebook and Twitter. T-Shirt sizes: S, M, L, XL

    1 claimed
  • $500USD
    Name in Credits +

    You just helped us hear the war victims' stories that would have remained voiceless! You will get your name in the "Special Thanks" section of the credits + A special edition T-Shirt + A movie poster signed by the team + A digital image + A thank you on Facebook and Twitter. T-Shirt sizes: S, M, L, XL

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Coffee Table Book +

    You are a SUPERHERO, your donation will give a voice to the voiceless and the oppressed! The first 5 people will get a special edition coffee table book featuring photographic images from the documentary + Your name in the credits as "Associate Producer" + A T-shirt + A signed Poster T-shirt sizes: S, M, L, XL

    1 out of 5 claimed
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