Interview in Westword about coronavirus and new film

Like everyone else, Colorado filmmaker Usama Alshaibi’s life has been changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

As a teacher at Colorado State University, he found himself putting his classes online. And as a filmmaker whose work straddles transgressive cinema and documentary, often exploring Arab-American identity and his own experiences as an Iraqi refugee turned United States citizen, Alshaibi made a short, meditative landscape video about the strange historical moment we’re living through. It lasts just shy of a minute.

We caught up with Alshaibi to find out how he’s navigating the pandemic, to learn how it has affected his creative practice, and to discover … Read the rest

Boy from War in Westword newspaper


By Kyle Harris

Usama Alshaibi doesn’t think of himself as a model refugee-turned-citizen. He’s neither a poster-child immigrant that Democratic strategists could parade around as a shining example of what happens when the United States opens its arms to Arabs, nor the bomb-wielding anti-American terrorist that President Donald Trump would have us believe immigrants from Iraq must be.

He didn’t join the military or die fighting for the United States in its war that destroyed his home country of Iraq. He was an average student. He experimented with sex and LSD. He found himself in the punk-rock scene of the Read the rest

In Search of an Invisible City: interview in White Fungus


From WhiteFungus.com

“When I was born there were dead bodies hanging off nooses in the streets of downtown Baghdad.”

“I feel it necessary to say here…that the two basic sentiments of my childhood which stayed with me well into adolescence, are those of a profound eroticism, at first sublimated in a great religious faith, and a permanent consciousness of death.” – Luis Buñuel

So begins the “Forced Artist Statement” of underground filmmaker Usama Alshaibi, whose brilliant new work Baghdad, Iowa depicts a dreamlike search for a liminal, mythical homeland amidst an autobiographical tangle of grief and lust and the director’s

Read the rest

Wild West in the Middle East

Alshaibi also speaks of a “total demonization of the Iraqis.” As Kyle’s platoon is invited by an Iraqi Eid feasts after they stormed his house, the hosts turned out to be deceitful and evil, he has in the next room a weapons cache hidden under a steel plate. ““Even the great Iraqi and Arab tradition of hospitality is degraded,” says Alshaibi.

I was interviewed in Germany’s newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung about American Sniper.
Check it out.
29906170001_3953057174001_video-still-for-video-3953034660001
PDF copy in German: SZ150217_p10