Family Motel
Casting Director: Lois Siegel
Photos by Lois Siegel

Lois Siegel  worked as Casting Director for the alternative-drama “Family Motel,” a co-production between Instinct Films, Montreal, and The National Film Board of Canada. The film is a sympathetic look at what happens to families when, in spite of all their efforts, the rent is too high, and their salaries are too low.

Premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival 2007


Family Motel



April 11, 2008
Ottawa hits the Silver Screen
by Lois Siegel
Centretown Buzz

Canadian Immigrant

Family Motel
All in a Day
Interview: Adrian Harewood
with Samsam Ahmed
March 12, 2008

Click on Listen

Family Motel will screen at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  Heading down for the screening are Samsam Ahmed, who played Ayan,  and her two daughters, who also starred in the film. Part of the film was shot in Vanier  -  in the real-life Concord Motel.
Listen (Runs 12:14)

Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois:
Alex and Ruth Dworkin Prize for a Film that Promotes Tolerance Screening
Museum of Modern Art, NYC, March 2008

Family Motel is one of the most important and affecting movies I've ever taken in.
It speaks for the millions of marginalized refugees in the West
 with a degree of realism and authenticity I don't think I've ever seen on film before.
Five stars for both content and cinematic art."
Alex Shoumatoff, contributing editor,
Vanity Fair

©Photos by Lois Siegel

  A cocktail was held at the Jello Bar, August 30, 2007 at the Montreal World Film Festival
before the premiere of the film "Family Motel," shot in Ottawa last summer.
 Instinct Films producer Ina Fichman; National Film Board of Canada producer, Ravida Din;
Director Helene Klodawsky.

Helene Klodawsky, director

Lois Siegel, who's a filmmaker in her own right, did all the non-Somali casting, and she did a tremendous job, putting the word out in a wide range of communities in the city, from food banks to professional organizations. We had some intense days during the casting process, where Lois would bring in countless people from different walks of life − social workers, housing activists, landlords and public servants. We were looking for people who could draw upon their real life experience. And Lois also put out a general call for people interested in a film about a homeless family. We videotaped lots of people. Lois had a great sense of who would be right for each role, and we were usually on the same page.


Scenes and Actors

Ayan (Nargis)

Ayan (Nargis)

Layla (Sagal Jibril)

Layla (Sagal Jibril)

Oliver (Imad Ghadie)
Layla (Sagal Jibril)

Zainab Talex

Rudy the Pimp
(Luke Andrades)

High-Heeled Young Woman
(Laura Boots)

Rudy the Pimp
(Luke Andrades)

Gloria  (Becky Dudley)

The Motel

Parking Lot Playground


Gloria and her Mother
(Becky Dudley, Gwen Shea)

Gloria's Mother (Gwen Shea),  Oliver (Imad Ghadie)

Andre Gaumond (Assistant Director - right) with The Sauve Family

The Food Bank
The Sauve Family

The Food Bank

New Arrivals

Rudy's Client ( Ladislav Matjasko)


Transvestite (Derek MacKinnon)

Transvestite (Derek MacKinnon)
with his son (Thomas Newman)

Derek MacKinnon

Orthodontist (Dr. Wallace Kuzmicz)

The Cast

Ayan (SamSam Ahmad)

George, Motel Owner (Lou Malouf)

Manager for the City
Edna Wright (Fern Goldman)

Transvestite (Derek MacKinnon)

Motel Residents
Joe (Robert Simpson) and  Joe's Girlfriend (Debbie Drake)

Bev, Food Bank Worker
(Lise Frappier)

Glen Brown, Orthodontist (Dr. V. Wallace Kuzmicz)

George Mullen, Management
(Brian Cameron)

Sandy Taylor, Counselor
(Sue Pihlainen)


The Sauve Family

Motel Extras

Aerobics Class

Motel Resident
Lois Laferriere

The Crew

Helene Klodawsky (Director)
Andre Gaumond (Assistant Director)

Left: Andre Gaumond
Right: Helene Klodawsky

Helene Klodawsky (Director)

German Gutierrez
Director of Photography

John Olts

Layla (Sagal Jibril), Jonquil Garrick (Makeup)


Lois Siegel's Home Page