Underground Film Journal

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Kartemquin Films: American Arab Clips

By Mike Everleth ⋅ November 9, 2010

Nov. 12
7:00 p.m.
Columbia College – Ferguson Theatre
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Hosted by: Kartemquin Films

The stalwart documentary film company, Kartemquin Films, is pairing up with the Chicago Council on Arab Affairs and Columbia College for this special event to honor Arab Heritage Month in Chicago.

Kartemquin will be previewing clips from the still in-progress documentary American Arab by Usama Alshaibi. In addition to the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Alshaibi, who will be joined by Marquette University sociologist Louise Cainkar and Roosevelt University professor David Faris. Roxane Assaf of the Chicago Council on Arab Affairs will moderate.

Filmmaker Usama Alshaibi wearing sunglasses

Alshaibi is an Iraqi-American filmmaker who previously explored his heritage in the documentary Nice Bombs (Amazon |Netflix), in which he chronicled his first trip back to Iraq as an adult following the expulsion of Saddam Hussain.

In 2009, American Arab became the first recipient of Kartemquin’s Diversity Fellowship, a program that was set up to help minority filmmakers have their voices heard in the media.

In the Underground Film Journal’s opinion, with a media that seems especially gung-ho promoting manufactured divisive and falsely controversial topics such as the hideously nicknamed “World Trade Center mosque” and a far-right media that plants fake news stories such as claiming that Sharia law has taken over local governments so that national politicians can campaign against such topics, a film like American Arab can’t be released soon enough.

This is an important film and it’s been good to see such a long-time respected institution like Kartemquin throwing their full weight and promotional efforts behind it with events such as this one.

While no clips or trailer from the film have surfaced online yet, I’m going to embed below a brief video that discusses the origin of the name “Kartemquin”:

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