Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"AmericanEast" Comes to DC

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"AmericanEast" Comes to DC

Article excerpt

THE FILM "AmericanEast" was screened as part of FilmFest DC, the Washington, DC International Film Festival, on April 26 to a packed Regal Gallery Place Theater. The film deals with the trials and tribulations faced by Arabs and Arab Americans living in the post-9/11 United States. Director Hesham Issawi explained the film best when he wrote, "The story examines long-held misunderstandings about Arabic and Islamic culture, and puts a human face on a segment of the U.S. population whom most Americans know nothing about, but who today are of particular interest to them, either from curiosity or suspicion."

After the showing director Issawi, along with two of the actors in the film, Anthony Azizi and Nasser Faris, spoke to the audience. Issawi said the film came about when he and Sayed Badreya [who co-wrote the screenplay], met with director Peter Farrelly of Farrelly Brothers fame to discuss ideas for future projects. Farrelly was so taken by Badreya's experience as an Arab-American actor forced to play a Middle Eastern terrorist over and over again, that Farrelly told Badreya that he should write a script about himself.

Issawi's immediate reaction, he said, was "But who would want to watch it? People in Hollywood don't like us."

Farrelly's answer was just as quick: "It's not that they hate you; they just don't know you."

"This was like an epiphany," Issawi recalled-and within three months he and Badreya had completed a first draft of the film. …

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