Usama Alshaibi Interviewed by Arpita Arneja

An interesting interview with director Usama Alshiabi about American Arab, by Kartemquin intern Arpita Aneja. From fall 2013.

How did working with Kartemquin help you develop your film?

I had 45 years of Kartemquin’s legacy behind me, and I worked with Gordon Quinn who was someone I admired and learned from. And so all along the way… he was giving me advice and helping me shape the film as we went along, and allowing me to test my instincts as an artist and as a filmmaker in the position that I was interested in, and how I wanted to present this work. He was very supportive of that. And obviously having the Kartemquin films name attached to this helped this receive more funding. I got to work with people like Leslie Simmer and Matt Lauterbach, who edited the film and had experience working on documentaries, specifically Kartemquin documentaries. It was a nice union. You know, I was concerned that my voice or my vision as a filmmaker would be lost within the Kartemquin universe, but actually it was the opposite. I was encouraged to find my voice and make my own-- and it was very much my own-- film.

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