American = Friend. Arab = Enemy. But what if you’re both? Who are you to America now? Who are you to yourself? Director Usama Alshaibi (NICE BOMBS) explores the complicated issues of Arab American identity post-9/11.
Most are familiar with the hate crimes and racist paranoia that still surround the Arab American community, but Alshaibi focuses his lens on personal stories to create a mosaic of experiences that illuminate a pressured reality: a defiant mixed-race Arab American punk musician; a little girl who has seen the horrors of war, but doesn’t know who Osama bin Laden is; a hijab-wearing woman who is attacked in a grocery store; and the filmmaker’s own life. His passage through America begins with racial epithets and the death of his brother from drugs — the all-American “poison.” It ends with the birth of his daughter, whose middle name, Cinema, might as well be Hope.
AMERICAN ARAB is a gift, an important document and beacon of hope for a community and people too often misunderstood, with disastrous consequences.
Executive Producer: Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn
Cinematographer: Christopher Rejano, Dinesh Sabu
Editor: Usama Alshaibi, Matt Lauterach, Leslie Simmer
Sound: Anne Hanson, Derek Hanson, Larry Kapson
Music: Marwan Kamel