Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and spent his formative years living between the United States and the Middle East. His work in film and video has been screened at numerous film festivals and venues across the globe. In early 2004 Usama and his wife returned to his birthplace in Iraq to shoot his first feature documentary titled Nice Bombs. The documentary had a theatrical release in 2007 and a broadcast premiere on the Sundance Channel in March 2008.
Michael Philips, film critic at The Chicago Tribune says Nice Bombs is "...a surprisingly warm first-person video diary….the footage has been edited with grace and tact."
Variety magazine calls Nice Bombs “thoroughly engaging… offers a uniquely time-layered vision of the war.”
Usama has completed one narrative feature titled Muhammad and Jane, and more than forty short films that are on various International DVD compilations. He has also produced and directed music videos for a variety of musicians and record labels.
In addition to reaching an eclectic audience with his film work, Alshaibi's photography and art have been included in various gallery exhibitions and print publications. An interview with Usama appears in Studs Terkel's book Hope Dies Last and his films have been included in Jack Sargeant's book Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground.
Alshaibi is the recipient of a generous 2005 grant from the Creative Capital Foundation for the Arts and a Playboy Foundation Award, as well as the winner of the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access in New York City.
Currently Alshaibi is working on documentary feature American Arab under a diversity fellowship at Kartemquin Films. The fellowship was enacted with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.