Santa Claus in Baghdad

It’s a story about sacrifices, the social order of society, and the power of a simple gift. Santa Claus in Baghdad is a story about giving set in modern-day Iraq.


Amal is a sixteen-year old girl who has fallen a year behind in school due to illness. When she learns that her favorite teacher is leaving, she recruits her classmates to decide on a going-away present for him. Meanwhile, her little brother, Bilal, thinks that their uncle, who will be visiting soon from the United States, is actually Santa Claus. He would like nothing more that to receive a toy car from this visitor from far away.



We spent a full day watching the film and developing classroom exercises with fifty teachers in North Carolina. There was not a dry eye in the house. This is a perfect film for schools and colleges. – Renée Hobbs, Temple University

The story does an amazing job of giving our students a picture not only into the life of Iraqi families, but for the life of many families across the globe in need. There were many powerful discussions around the different stories in the film both between the student body and the wider middle school community. – John Harutunian

My daughter asked me what to get her father for Christmas and I told her to watch your film and she would know. – Laura Ball

Your film is beautiful and amazing. There are not enough films like this for students. – Samira Phillips

The story held my students’ interest and engendered a lively discussion. My students are quite ignorant of even the history of the Gulf War. In light of their ignorance, we are now doing some research to learn more about Iraq. – JoAnn Baldwin


Raouf Zaki‘s Santa Claus in Baghdad – Denise Widman, Imagine Magazine

Not some sappy Christmas story – Joel Brown, Boston Globe

MetroWest a stand-in for the Middle East in film – Chris Bergron, MetroWest Daily News

A Christmas Gift from Baghdad – Julia Cox,

Story of hope in Baghdad – Denise Taylor, Boston Globe

“Santa Claus in Baghdad” and Framingham, too – Joyce Kelly, MetroWest Daily News

Turning Boston into Baghdad – Profile News

Filmmaker shows movie at Framingham breakfast Kathy Uek, MetroWest Daily News