Pat & Samir Twair (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs)
A special screening of Fahmi Farahat's documentary, "Saudis in America" delighted a full house Sept. 8 at the American film institute in Los Angeles. It is Farahat's first film, and offers promise of great things to come from this young artist.
The one-hour documentary deals with how Saudis living in the u.s. Felt during the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and also with the attitudes of Saudi women about how they are perceived by the west. Farahat miraculously brings the Saudi sense of humor to bear on this serious material, and the audience quickly identifies with the people interviewed.
In addition to interviewing Americans on the street about their views of Saudi Arabia, Farahat, who graduated in 2006 from the radio, TV and film department of California state university at Fullerton, ingeniously chose his family members and friends to tell the story of Saudis in America. "we've all heard scholars and theologians discuss the topic, I chose to let ordinary—well, they're not ordinary to me—Saudis talk about what it means to be a Saudi," he explained.
In his opening remarks, producer Ahmad Zahra commented: "we can't afford in our world today to wait for others to tell our stories or express how we feel. We need to take the initiative to do this. What matters is that we support each other's right of expression free of censorship and control."
"Saudis in America" will be shown at film festivals and should be available on DVD format by the end of the year,