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Traces of Home

In attempts to discover her own roots, filmmaker Colette Ghunim embarks on a journey with her parents to find their ancestral homes in Mexico and Palestine, after they were forced to leave decades ago. While navigating physical borders in both lands, her family’s internal barriers break down, exposing the traumas that forced them to leave and continue to challenge dynamics together.

Inspired to answer questions about my her own biracial origins, filmmaker Colette Ghunim embarks on a journey with her parents, Hosni and Iza, back to Palestine and Mexico to locate their original homes decades after they were forced to leave them. In 1948, when Hosni was four years old, settlers forced his family to flee their village in Palestine, taking only what they could carry on their 12-hour walk to Lebanon. He ended up moving to the United States, where he met his wife, Iza. Iza was born in Mexico City in 1954, her father a well-known tailor for celebrities. However, behind closed doors, Iza’s father was a troubled alcoholic, severely beating his wife whenever he got drunk. After years of abuse, Iza’s mother fled Mexico with her children, barely escaping death from her violent husband. Traces of Home is a feature-length documentary that explores how immigrants and refugees’ pasts shape their current realities in the United States. The film also documents Ghunim’s personal journey as a biracial child of refugee parents as she answers questions about how migration and generational trauma shaped her own upbringing and identity.



Colette Ghunim

Project Advisors

Dan Rybicky

Consulting Editor

Rabab Haj Yahya

Associate Producer

Carina Nieto

Outreach Coordinator

Lena El Meligy