November 27, 2013 1:01 pm
Kartemquin has sold all rights in the international marketplace (minus the US) for our latest documentary, American Arab, to Cargo Film & Releasing. New York-based international documentary film sales agent Cargo Film & Releasing struck the deal with Kartemquin following the IDFA 2013 (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) world premiere of Iraqi-born director Usama Alshaibi’s provocative, personal look at look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America. Negotiations were finalized at IDFA late on Monday November 23rd by Cargo’s David Piperni, and Kartemquin’s Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan and American Arab director Usama Alshaibi. View photos of American Arab at IDFA. Alshaibi’s 60 minute film is showing in competition in the mid-length documentary category at IDFA. Weaving his own life’s journey and “coming-of-Arab” experiences into the life stories of several diverse characters, the film explores the values, passions, and hopes of his fellow Arab-Americans, as Alshaibi tries to make peace with his conflicted chosen homeland. When asked why he made the film at an IDFA screening on Monday, Alshaibi (director of Nice Bombs and Profane) stated: "I didn't want to make this film, but no one else was and this conversation had to happen." In his first interview since the film was completed, with David D'Arcy of the Abu Dhabi-based publication The National, Usama revealed how he suffered from racist violence and death threats after 9/11. The film has two more screenings at IDFA this weekend. Following IDFA, the film will be at US and international festivals in 2014. 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. Usama Alshaibi began the project in 2009. Additional funding came from the Center for Asian-American Media (CAAM). Read an in-depth interview with Usama from our newsletter.