American Arab


Year: 2013
Country: USA
Run Time: 58 minutes

After the events of 9/11 there was a backlash against Arabs in the United States. Some citizens ignorantly connected all Middle Eastern people with the acts of terrorism that were committed against our country. As Iraqi-American filmmaker Usama Alshaibi displays in AMERICAN ARAB, it was an extremely difficult time. It's been more than a decade since the attacks, but the fear and racism towards Arabs still exists. During the 2008 election, John McCain was famously asked by a supporter about Barack Obama being an Arab. McCain nervously replied: “No, ma'am, he's a decent family man.” To Arabs, his response seemed to imply that they're incapable of decency. The film also examines how they're negatively portrayed in the entertainment industry, something that had a profound impact on a young Alshaibi. Throughout the documentary he interviews others about their experiences, touching on the complexities of being stuck in the middle of two very different cultures. This excellent sociological study breaks down the barriers, providing a deeply personal and affecting look at life from the unique perspective of Arab Americans. —E.F.

CIFF38 Screenings

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Standing Up Films

Documentary Features
Recommended for High School +

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition

Usama Alshaibi

Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan

Christopher Rejano, Dinesh Sabu

Leslie Simmer, Matt Lauterbach, Usama Alshaibi

Director Bio
Usama Alshaibi is an Iraqi-American filmmaker and visual artist. He's directed music videos for bands including Mahjongg, Panicsville, and Bobby Conn. His 2006 film "Nice Bombs" won Best Documentary Film at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Select Filmography
"Muhammad and Jane" (2003), "The Amateurs" (2003), "Nice Bombs" (2006), "Profane" (2011), AMERICAN ARAB (2013)

Print Source

Kartemquin Films

Community Partner

Cleveland Council on World Affairs

Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio

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