Nana, George & Me is a portrayal of one man's attempts to make a film about semi-visible minority identities.

A 92 year-old Iraqi Jewish grandmother and a 73 year-old gay writer share their experiences with a young filmmaker in this 48 minute documentary. The result is a candid, often humorous film looking at minority identity and marginalization.

  Nana, Joe Balass's grandmother, was born in 1901. An Iraqi Jew, she lived most of her life in Baghdad, in conditions that grew more repressive with each passing year. A symbol of strength and character, Nana finally lives freely in Israel.

Click here to read about Nana's extraordinary life.

  George Hayim is a Gay Iraqi Jewish writer who divides his time between London, Paris, and Sydney. George has always lived a charmed and passionate lifestyle. Simultaneously at odds with, yet in some ways representative of, the Iraqi Jewish diaspora, he continues to live as unabashedly as ever.

Click here to read more about George's amazing life.

  Joe Balass, the "me" in the film's title, was born in Baghdad in 1966. He escaped from Iraq with his family at the ripe old age of four, and eventually settled in Canada.

He has directed a number of short films and videos including: Funhouse, Caroline, Tattoo Needle Pricks, and On A Very Violet Night in the Appartements Daphne which won a Gold Apple at the NEFVF in Oakland.

Joe also works as a freelance editor, photographer and producer. At present, he is seeking a distributor and broadcast venues for Nana, George & Me, and is looking for collaborators on some new projects.

Click here to see a photo of Joe at age three, a year before he escaped from Iraq.


Contact Joe Balass at

Visit Compass Productions:

Cast & Crew

writer, producer, director:
Joe Balass

main subjects:
Nana Saida and George Hayim

Philip Greene

Joe Balass, Celine Bissonnette

Joe Balass, Dennis Day


Site © Ed Hawco
Last update: October 10, 2000