Format: Digital Betacam Colour
Runtime: 85 min
Khaled Productions Inc.
Khaled (Micahel D’Ascenzo), a ten-year-old boy of Moroccan heritage, finds that his sickly, drug-addicted mother has died in their rundown Toronto apartment. Trapped in denial, the boy retreats into a protective cocoon and struggles to keep the news a secret from the outside world – and particularly from a determined social worker who is intent on putting Khaled into foster care, despite the boy’s past experience of sexual abuse by a foster parent. Khaled must also fend off the apartment building’s sleazy superintendent, who is clamouring for overdue rent, and the other residents of the building who simply frighten the young boy.
A plea for public attention for the health and welfare of inner-city children, Khaled was inspired by a tragic, real-life news account. A product of the Canadian Film Centre’s Feature Film Project and shot on a minuscule budget on digital video, Khaled is concisely structured and grittily realistic. With this assured first feature, Iranian-Canadian director Asghar Massombagi proved his willingness to tackle the difficulties of the human condition with simplicity, grace and an austere and unblinking eye.
Khaled was named one of Canada’s Top Ten of 2001 by an independent, ten-member national panel comprised of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals.