Baghdad, Iowa premiers in Portland

Open Signal is proud to host a Portland showing of The Seventh Art Stand, a nationwide screening and discussion series presented by over fifty theaters, museums and community centers in the United States, which seeks to clarify the myths perpetuated by Islamophobia. 

This screening, hosted by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Vivian Hua, will feature short films by filmmakers from all over the country, including “Baghdad, Iowa” by Colorado filmmaker Usama Alshaibi; “Um Aballah” by New York filmmaker Sahar al-Sawaf; “Thyme” by Florida filmmaker Jude Cherab; and “Searching Skies” by Hua. 

Following the screening, Hua will discuss the works shown with Alshaibi over Skype.  Screening date is June 21.

Father’s day

Right before my dad and I drove back to Baghdad in early 2004, my wife Kristie took this picture. It was the first image of a very intense and life changing trip for both of us that is documented in my film Nice Bombs. My father and I had been apart for so many years, and been away from Iraq for over 24 years; so it made this trip so significant. My father Hameed has been known as being a risk-taker, reckless, an adventurer and someone who never needed map… let’s just keep driving he would say. But for me, it helped when I took my own risks and traveled and entered new and strange places. It’s ironic that he brought us to the United States but he was never able to settle here. This is the first father’s day since my dad has died. There is something about being a father myself, as well as getting older and reflecting on my own childhood, that has given me a deeper love and appreciation for my own father. Happy father’s day to you dad. Miss you.

Film review for Profane

“There’s a cinematic mastery lying at the very core of Profane…”

Great review for my underground film Profane. Read more at the The Independent Film Critic. 

“Kara portrays Muna masterfully by refusing to peel away the layers of her complex persona. Profane isn’t a film for the casual moviegoer, because it requires active listening and participation.”
“The original music by Ehsan Ghoreishi is haunting and deeply felt, while Alshaibi’s camera work is at times stunning in its intimacy and its heartbreak. While it may seem absurd to mention in a film with so much nudity (and there’s a lot!), Maha Moda deserves kudos for her costume design here. ”

The Flowering premiers in Winnipeg, Canada

Thursday, March 9th
$10 / Free for Immigrants
All proceeds to the ACLU

Proudly presented by the Winnipeg Underground Film Fest and Ace Art Inc.


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