Read Usama Alshaibi's "Forced Artist Statement"

"Motion unfixed, in flux, with no obvious resolution – this is an exciting place for me to explore. The notion of the immigrant, the sense of displaced citizen in transition, is becoming a contemporary reality for many of us. With real and imagined fears of global terrorism and an unstable economy, we are all, in a sense, experiencing a state of anxiety and transformation."

Kartemquin's first Diversity Fellow, Usama Alshaibi, is getting close to completing his new documentary American Arab. Get to know him and his filmmaking philosophy better by reading his "Forced Artist Statement".

Since starting on American Arab at Kartemquin in 2009, Usama has seen a number of life transitions, including a move from Chicago back to his birth State of Iowa; unwanted media attention after an assualt; the birth of his first child (a beautiful daughter named Muneera Cinema Alshaibi); and the completion of an award-winning experimental fictional film, Profane (coming soon to DVD). The latest transition is his move to Boulder, Colorado, where he is about to embark on a MFA in Film Studies at the University of Colorado.

American Arab, in Usama's own words, "explores how Arab Americans own their Arab heritage and American identity in different ways, and asks how they see themselves in light of how they are viewed and portrayed by others. What I’m witnessing in the United States is an environment of hostility toward Muslims and Arabs. Islamophobia is the fear du jour. As an immigrant and citizen I feel an obligation to tell the stories of Arab Americans- and the uncomfortable social and political landscape into which they are inevitably thrust. This will be my most straightforward documentary to date."

Usama is currently in post-production on American Arab with editor Leslie Simmer. If you would like to support the completion of this film, please donate here.

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