March 18 – 29
At Tower City
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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.
Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan
Christopher Rejano, Dinesh Sabu
Leslie Simmer, Matt Lauterbach, Usama Alshaibi
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.
"Muhammad and Jane" (2003), "The Amateurs" (2003), "Nice Bombs" (2006), "Profane" (2011), AMERICAN ARAB (2013)
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CIFF40 will take place March 30 - April 10, 2016 at Tower City Cinemas and neighborhood screening locations!
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