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American Arab

A Coming of Arab story.

In American Arab, Iraqi-born Director Usama Alshaibi takes a provocative look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, weaving his own life’s journey and “coming-of-Arab” experiences into the life stories of several diverse characters. Exploring the values, passions, and hopes of his fellow Arab-Americans, Usama tries to make peace with his conflicted chosen homeland.

Arab-Americans are not one monolithic group, but rather a diverse and complex array of many voices and cultures. This film weaves sadness and humor, anger and satire, provocation and understanding, embracing the multifaceted Arab American experience of post 9/11 America. By shedding light and giving clarity to a recent and difficult time for Arabs living in the US, American Arab shows how the struggles over identity within this documentary are universal.

American Arab is a project of Kartemquin’s first Diversity Fellowship, sponsored by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Ford Foundation.



Christopher Rejano
Dinesh Sabu


Larry Kapson
Derek Hanson
Anne Hanson

Original Musical Score Writer and Composer

Marwan Kamel

Additional Music

Tim Kahn
G(Riot) Is The Serious Black
Rainbow Arabia

Sound Mix

Nick Broste

Additional Sound Mix

Jacob Ross


Mel Racho

Additional Animation

Hilda Karadsheh


Tristan Hanson
Rachel Pikelny

New York City Video Crew

Carey Burtt
Zeke Springer

The Birth Team In Iowa City

Jun-Nicole Matsushita
Elizabeth Cook
Nurse Kristin

Additional Videography

Kristie Alshaibi
Usama Alshaibi

Editing Consulting

Nathaniel Dorsky

Artistic Director (Kartemquin)

Gordon Quinn

Executive Director (Kartemquin)

Justine Nagan

Post Production Assistance

Nora Gully
Ryan Gleeson
Hillary Bachelder

Colorist and Technical Supervisor

Jim Morrissette

Director of Communications And Programs (Kartemquin)

Tim Horsburgh

Director of Production (Kartemquin)

Zak Piper

Director of Post-Production (Kartemquin)

Liz Kaar

Additional Kartemquin Staff

Tamara Fouche
Elizabeth Neufeld
Ian Kibbe

Fair Use Consultant

Peter Jaszi

Kartemquin Bookkeeping

Suzanne Niemoth
Maria Galent
Yvonne Afable
Mia Capodilupo
Cate Ryan

Titles and Graphics

Dizzy Giant

Photo Retouching

Lisa Barcy

Advisory Board

Louis Cainkar-Mashrah
Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa
Susan Gzesh
Bonnie Honig
Dr. Jack Shaheen


Aladdin M.Yaqub


Adina Kwasigroch

Legal Services

Holland & Knight - Chicago

Kartemquin Interns & Production Assistants

Emily Thomas
Lesley Onstott
Shuling Yong
Brett Hanover
Ethan Barnowsky
Nicholas Fraccaro
Hannah Roodman
Ayesha Siddiqi
Ranjani Chakraborty
Joe Riina-Ferrie
Philister Sidigu
Cassie Wierenga
Stanzi Vaubel
Lauren Makholm
Kevin Fullam
Melissa Coleman
Jeff Perlman
R. Patrick Lile
Jonathan Vogel
Orion Pahl
Gabbi Ntsimi
Naomi Ezquivel
Mary Horan
Elena Guobyte
Philipp Batta
Morgan Johnson
Biliana Grozdanova
Sarah Bice
Ryan Bedore
Chris Bentley
John Fecile
Haley Martin
Thomas Mathew
Katie Prentiss
Ryan Buckley
Rosa Gaia Saunders
Matt Sezer
Julian Walker
Rachel Glass
David Granskog
Ben Schamisso
Aniluz Mercedes
Felix Ofosu Yeboah
Kristen Zelenka
Andrea Blake
Dain Evans
Reid Compton
Rachel Dickson
Nushmia Khan
Rachel Rozycki
Spenser Gabin
Natalie Stone
Tracy Ko
Cody Wallace
Alexander Skalomenos
Brian Gersten


Awards and Distinctions

Act Human Rights Festival

Official Selection


Athens International Film and Video Festival

Official Selection


Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection

North American Premiere


CAAM Fest presented by the Center for Asian American Media

Official Selection


Chicago Underground Film Festival

Honorable Mention

Jury Award


Cleveland International Film Festival

Official Selection


Geneva Film Festival (IL)

Official Selection


Kansas City Film Festival

Official Selection


Minneapolist/St.Paul International Film Festival

Official Selection


River Bend Film Festival

Official Selection


Stockholm Film Festival

Official Selection


Sydney Underground Film Festival

Official Selection


International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

Official Selection

World Premiere