Grant #456

The Cemetery of Strangers

June 28, 2021

We Are In Awe & We Want To Know Why He Does What He Does

We’re fascinated by this person doing remarkable things and we can’t imagine what makes him tick, but he’s not the one getting the AWB grant. Instead, it’s going to documentary filmmaker Walid Falleh to help him tell the story. Walid became intrigued by a Tunisian fisherman, Chamseddine Marzoug, from the town of Zarzis on the border of Libya. Marzoug’s life keeps him close to the sea and this has made him a witness to the reality of death by sea. Many migrants trying to find new land die in that attempt. Their bodies show up on the beaches, in the shallows of the shores of a land where cemeteries are exclusively for devout Muslims. Local cemeteries are not for people of unknown faith, not for the people whose lifeless bodies arrive uninvited, unwanted, unwelcome.

Yet Marzoug, the fisherman, cannot leave their bodies in such a tragic situation. For years, he has taken it upon himself to ensure that the remains of migrants who perished at sea are buried with dignity. He does it himself. He has made a  “Cemetery of Strangers” in the town’s landfill. Walid has been filming the story as Marzoug goes about his humanitarian mission of mercy. Walid’s going to use this cash to rent (and buy) needed equipment, for transportation to get to his shooting sites, maybe some catering on the shoots. Every little bit helps because Walid is making this movie independently.  It’s time for the story of this unsung hero to find its way into the world as a finished film. There’s nothing more awesome than humanity at its noblest. A little preview? Here.

Category: Activism, Community, Film, Grief



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders