The Desire premieres at the 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival

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We are proud to announce that our film The Desire is an official selection at the 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival. Single tickets start at $10 and the full program can be found here: https://watch.eventive.org/cuff. Ticket prices go up after Halloween so snag one sooner rather than later.

Watch here: The Desire (by Talia Watrous and Usama Alshaibi) plays November 22nd for Shorts Program 14

Cinema-19 in Filmmaker Magazine

In the brisk, 43-minute anthology film, Cinema-19, a group of experimental filmmakers respond to the coronavirus pandemic with diverse and imaginative results. The films are all 190 seconds long and, say the curator/organizers, filmmakers Usama Alshaibi and Adam Sekuler, “do not attempt to summarize the pandemic, but instead focus on the personal, the political, the sensual, the distant, the abstract, and the absurd.” 
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Westword Magazine on CINEMA-19

“At some point in the middle of summer, with protests against police brutality and the conflicts on the streets in the United States, we questioned if we even needed a film program like this,” admits Alshaibi. “But I believe we do need artistic expressions and documentation during a historical time like ours. There is no singular narrative of what we are going through, but we are definitely going through a transformation collectively — and all these films are trying to make sense of our strange and dark days. In the end, I think there is hope…there has to be.”

Read … Read the rest

Cinema-19 Streaming

Filmmakers Respond to COVID-19

Presented in Association with
Anthology Film Archives
Northwest Film Forum
Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge

Filmmakers In Order of Appearance:
Courtney Stephens
Kalpana Subramanian
Usama Alshaibi
Scott Cummings
Lori Felker
Matt McCormick
Eman Akram Nader & Alex Megaro
Christin Turner
Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa
Kelly Gallagher
Sarah Ema Friedland
William Brown & Mila Zuo
Amir George
Adam Sekuler

The Pandemic and Cinema-19

Filmmakers Usama Alshaibi and Adam Sekuler announce CINEMA-19, a collection of 190 second short films commissioned in response to COVID-19.

The films in CINEMA-19 do not attempt to summarize the pandemic, but instead focus on the personal, the political, the sensual, the distant, the abstract, and the absurd.

With new works by Sarah Ema Friedland, Matt McCormick, Kalpana Subramanian, Christin Turner, Mila Zuo, William Brown, Kelly Gallagher, Lori Felker, Courtney Stephens, Scott Cummings, Amir George, Eman Akram Nader, Alex Megaro, Mehrnaz Saeedvafa, as well as the two commissioning artists; Usama Alshaibi and Adam Sekuler.

The films are presented in association … Read the rest

Independent Iraqi Film Festival plays my Baba Boom Boom


تتبع العراق: سينما الموجة الجديدة

٢٢ أغسطس| ٨:٣٠ م بغداد| ٦:٣٠ م المملكة المتحدة.
العرض على موقعنا الرسمي www.iiffestival.com

يستعرض برنامج الأفلام القصيرة الأول في المهرجان بعنوان “تتبع العراق: سينما الموجة الجديدة” الحياة داخل العراق من وجهة نظر مجتمعاته المتنوعة والأساليب الإبداعية لصناعة السينما في البلاد. وفي هذا الإطار، يصور فيلم “سبيّة” (٢٠١٩) للمخرج العراقي ضياء جودة امرأة يزيدية في وادي أحد الجبال شمالي العراق. أما فيلم “لم تكن وحيدة” (٢٠١٩) للمخرج العراقي حسين الأسدي فيسلط الضوء على صلابة وقوة تحمل النساء العراقيات الريفيات؛ حيث يصور امرأة تعيش مستقلة في أهوار العراق ولها طريقة عيش مميزة مع بيئتها. وعلى العكس … Read the rest

CINE-FILE review of American Arab for BEST OF CUFF

Usama Alshaibi’s AMERICAN ARAB (US/Documentary)

About halfway through AMERICAN ARAB, Marwan Kamel, a local Chicago musician of Syrian and Polish descent, sums up the knotty problem of carving out an identity in a country not fond of ambiguity, and offers this solution: “Give people the space to be complicated.” It’s something of a thesis for director Usama Alshaibi’s complex and extremely personal documentary. The core of the movie traces Alshaibi’s life through family photos and home movies as he bounces from Iraq to Iowa to Chicago, occasionally doubling back. In AMERICAN ARAB he examines how this sense of impermanence, coupled … Read the rest