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Subscribers can view in-cinema on Wednesday, October 5 or Thursday, October 6. Subscribers can reserve their seats by contacting [email protected].

Subscribers can view online at from Thursday, October 6 to Sunday, October 9. Sign in with your email and password.

The Perfect Story is a heart-wrenching and provocative look at journalism, belonging, the stories we tell, and who gets to tell them. The film follows the decade-long relationship between Canadian journalist Michelle Shephard and Ismael Abdulle, a young Somali refugee who had his hand and foot cut off by the terrorist group al-Shabab. Their story begins in 2010, when they met during one of Michelle’s reporting trips to Mogadishu for the Toronto Star. Her articles about Ismael sparked a movement within the Somali diaspora that helped him escape Mogadishu and find refuge in Harstad, Norway, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. For nearly a decade, Ismael embraced his new home, learning to speak Norwegian fluently and attempting to adapt to his new country. When Ismael goes back to Mogadishu, an unexpected turn of events forces Michelle to defy one of journalism’s golden rules—"report the story, don't become part of it"—and makes her question her role as a storyteller.

In English, Somali and Norwegian with English subtitles.

To expand on the themes raised in the film, the Wednesday, October 5 screening will be followed by a special curated panel.



  • Special guest host Adrienne Arsenault, CBC News' chief correspondent and host of The National
  • Filmmaker/journalist Michelle Shephard, writer and director of The Perfect Story
  • Associate Producer Sahal Abdulle, veteran Somali-Canadian photojournalist, reporter and documentary filmmaker
  • Immigration Lawyer Hadayt Nazami, Associate, Nazami & Associates

Michelle Shephard and Sahal Abdulle will participate in a live Q&A at the Thursday, October 6 screening.


  • Director(s)

    • Michelle Shephard
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