Dark comedy web series starting serious conversations in the Arabic community
Tackling the taboo topic of organ donation within the Arabic community, filmmaker Fadia Abboud recently directed a five-part web series called the Widows of Parramatta. The series was produced in collaboration with the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service and the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service.
The web series features the 15-year friendship between three elderly Lebanese-Australian widows and neighbours, Layla Kisrwani, Jamilie Joseph and Genevieve (Jenny) Kahwaji, as they discuss the rituals around life and death in the Arabic-Australian community, while gossiping, drinking coffee, rolling vine leaves and cleaning their husbands’ headstones.
The web series was created to shift perceptions in the community on organ and tissue donation, with many people not willing to sign up as a result of religious and cultural beliefs. The conversations surrounding the topic in the Widows of Parramatta are driven by dark comedy, and the three ladies often contemplate the question, “What if their husband’s heart were in someone else’s body?”
In the series, the friends even discuss their plans for their own funerals and regularly consider their mortality, showcasing the progressive conversations happening in the community today.
“In our time, they never spoke about organ and tissue donation but how times have changed. Now they can put my liver in another body to save someone else’s life,” Widows of Parramatta star Jenny Kahwaji said.
The five episodes are available to watch HERE on YouTube.
For more information about organ and tissue donation, including details about how to register your decision to become a donor, visit donatelife.gov.au.