Arab American Stories highlights the diversity within the Arab American community. The series showcases the lives of 39 different Arab Americans from around the country. The stories in the documentary are notably devoid of political or other rhetoric, filled instead with engaging stories of Arab Americans across the country who have made contributions in art, science, and business, and many other areas of society.
Arab American Stories was shot all over the country by a team of talented filmmakers/producers who brought their varied experience to the stories. The stories featured Arab Americans of all walks of life having an impact – on their communities, their families, or the world at large.
The thirteen-week series featured 13 half-hour programs, each program featuring three short character-driven documentaries produced by a variety of independent filmmakers that profiled Arab Americans making an impact in their community, their profession, their family, or the world at large.
The series won an Emmy from the 35th Annual National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was selected to win the Belva Davis Broadcaster Award from the SAG-AFTRA, American Scene Awards, for presenting a “varied and multifaceted view of Arab Americans from all walks of life.”
Executive Producers of the series were, Warren David, president of Arab America and Jeff Forster, former Vice President of Production and Station Enterprises for Detroit Public Television. The series was produced by Alicia Sams (who was also the producer/director of the Emmy Award-winning film By the People: The Election of Barack Obama) and was hosted by NPR’s Neda Ulaby.
Episode 6: Traditions
So much is passed down from generation to generation — but it sometimes takes time for the next generation to recognize how the past affects their own lives. Hearing their family history shows three generations of the Abercia family how values are passed down from their forebears. Chef Ali El Sayed’s son Esmaeel is just beginning to understand how his father’s Egyptian heritage fits in with his own identity as a native-born American living in ethnically diverse Queens, and the family recipes Kamal Al-Faqih learned from his mother led him to his calling as a chef and cookbook author.