Check out this podcast interview I did with Chris Bell for The Playlist.. We had a very intense discussion on films and Arab identity in America.
BANNED! Pt. 1 – FILMS FROM IRAQ
Thursday, March 9th
$10 / Free for Immigrants
All proceeds to the ACLU
Proudly presented by the Winnipeg Underground Film Fest and Ace Art Inc.
THESE FILMS KILL FASCISTS
Please join us for this amazing collection of experiments and observations from Iraq, filmed in Iraq and in most cases by Iraqi filmmakers.
‘There, The Gun’ by Jamal Penjweny, 9min
‘Fan and Coffee’ by Rebeen Hamarafiq, 1min
‘The Flowering’ by Usama Alshaibi, 5min
‘Dream City’ by Emma Piper-Burket, 50min
First Friday: February Baghdad, Iowa
5:00 pm–7:00 pm
118 E. College St., Iowa City
Party for art at the next University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) First Friday reception at FilmScene. This month Usama Alshaibi will share his short film Baghdad, Iowa.
Watch or download Baghdad, Iowa here.
“…an intimately personal and surreal visual prism”–Underground Film Journal
When I lived and worked in Chicago I was covering the Election Night Victory Speech in Grant Park. It was a historical and electrical evening for America as the first African-American became our president. Here are some photos I took that night on November 4, 2008.
Islam, Syria, Halloween and terrorism. I bring this up to talk about one of my filmmaker heros. Moustapha Akkad. He is the producer behind the Halloween films and franchise. Born in Aleppo Syria, he was accepted to study at UCLA in California. Before he left his father gave him a Quran and $200 and said this is all you need to make it.
He went on to direct one of the greatest films ever made about the rise of Islam called The Message (1976). It starred Anthony Quinn and was shot in both Arabic and English at the same time using different actors. The film was nominated for an Oscar for best original score but lost to Star Wars. Anybody that has grown up in the Muslim world has probably seen The Message. It’s played every year in parts of the Middle East and the film has educated millions of non-Muslims about the story of Muhammad and the early years of Islam. It’s a beautiful film and even has a mention of my family name: Al Shaibi, who were the pagan gatekeepers of the Ka’aba.
This man who elevated the story of Islam for the world to see was killed by a Muslim terrorist when he was in Amman, Jordan celebrating his daughter’s Rima’s wedding in 2005. A female suicide bomber blew herself up and Moustapha Akkad and his daughter were both killed.
So when you watch the original Halloween film, or if you have a chance go see The Message, think about this man from Syria who came over to America to show us something new.