Filmmaker Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad in 1969, and grew up in the USA and Middle East. As a young man he made numerous underground and experimental films and was a lively member of the Chicago filmmaking community, working as both a film director and festival programmer.
Now, in American Arab the director turns the camera on himself and on those around him and starts to explore exactly what it means to be an American Arab in the 21st century, examining the relationships between nationality, cultural, self-expression, creativity and personal identity, and the prejudices and stereotypes that can shape these experiences. Drawing on both his own experiences and on those of others, Alshaibi paints a complex picture of contemporary identities.
Usama Alshaibi’s previous documentary feature was the acclaimed Nice Bombs, which was broadcast on the Sundance Channel in 2008. With American Arab he has firmly combined the personal aspects of independent cinema with the wider concerns of documentary cinema to create an engaging exploration of identity.
Screening with: Nesma's Birds
SUN 6, 2.15PM, PARADISO
SUN 13, 4PM, LUNA