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Presented as part of the Davis Center Social Change Film Series.

The Davis Center will host a post-film discussion on Thursday, April 29 at 8pm. For more details, please visit their website here.

A provocative look at the complexities of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, American Arab interweaves filmmaker Usama Alshaibi's own story and his family's with that of other Arab Americans to thoughtfully explore the values, passions, hopes and perceptions of his community, from inside and out.

Born in Iraq and raised in the United States, Usama sets out to examine stereotypes and how they came to be. He reaches out to friends and kindred spirits: Amal Abusumayah, a young woman born in America, who wears a headscarf and tells how she was the victim of a hate crime shortly after the 2009 Ft. Hood shootings; Marwan Kamel, a musician in the Muslim punk subculture known as Taqwacore; the Jassar family, who have recently come to the United States to escape kidnapping and threats of murder in Iraq. During the course of filming this documentary, Usama himself became a victim of a racially motivated attack.

American Arab is a timely and important film that emphasizes the diverse and complex array of voices and cultures within the Arab American community. It asks what it means to be an Arab today, to what degree is one's identity determined by one's birth country and to what extent do we identify with the nation in which we live. By shedding light and giving clarity to these multifaceted issues, American Arab profoundly embraces and illuminates the Arab American experience.

"A universal story about immigrants’ struggles to assimilate and seek the often elusive promise of the American dream. A potent discussion starter." — Booklist

'It feels like the start of a conversation, rather than a provocation." — Chicago Reader

  • Year
  • Runtime
    60 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Usama Alshaibi
  • Cinematographer
    Christopher Rejano, Dinesh Sabu
  • Editor
    Leslie Simmer, Matt Lauterbach, Usama Alshaibi