Page 25 - Edify-Nov-Dec-2023
P. 25

and University, too
O ne of Omar Mouallem’s favou- rite perks of being a journalist
is “all the amazing things you can leverage your job” into, like the time
he went on an African safari, or to the Canadian Space Agency. But when we talk, he’s most excited about his upcoming documentary (Making Kayfabe) that’s allowed him to fulfill a childhood dream: playing a heel in local pro wrestling.
“My whole persona is Fake News Neville. I play a smarmy, elitist journalist,” he says gleefully as we watch footage of him being thrown around (and doing his share of throwing) a squared circle in south Edmonton.
Making documentaries is a full-circle moment for Mouallem. At 17, he went to film school in Vancouver, thinking he’d make scripted films. He got into writing film reviews, which eventually led him into an award-winning non-fiction writing career. (He also worked at this very magazine.) His first feature, The Lebanese Burger Mafia, on Alberta’s Burger Baron franchises, is non-fiction on film.
But looking back, his proudest accom- plishment by far is the success of his Pandemic University – Pop-up School of Writing that teaches affordable creative writing and workshops online. It was supposed to be a “seven, eight-week experiment” to help writers earn income during the pandemic’s early days, but
in three years it’s already reached over 4,000 students from over 60 countries (2021 Honorary Top 40 Julie Rohr gave the school’s first valedictorian speech). “It’s just this small, little upstart, but I get emails from writers who have published their first works, or have told me that this inspired them to start writing again, or to believe in themselves as writers for the first time.” –Cory Schachtel
Burgers, Wrestling

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