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A Thousand And One Journeys: The Arab Americans to premiere at Atlanta History Center on Aug. 28th at 6:30 pm

posted on: Jul 29, 2016

A Thousand And One Journeys: The Arab Americans  to premiere at Atlanta History Center on Aug. 28th at 6:30 pm

Press release: Alif Institute

ATLANTA – July 28, 2016 – At a time of heightened political focus and continued misunderstanding of Americans of Arab descent, ALIF Institute is pleased to announce that it is bringing the first historical full-length documentary about Arab Americans to Atlanta to make its Southeastern US premiere.

A THOUSAND AND ONE JOURNEYS: THE ARAB AMERICANS will make its Southeastern US premiere at the Atlanta History Center on Aug. 28th at 6:30 p.m. The roughly 85-minute documentary will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with special guest Abe Kasbo, the film’s creator, director and producer.

“We are pleased to bring a film of such historical magnitude to Atlanta,” said Angela Khoury, executive director of the ALIF Institute, a nonprofit civic and educational organization based in Atlanta. “As is in keeping with our organization’s mission, the documentary Abe Kasbo has produced does a great job of tackling the misconceptions and stereotypes so often associated with Arab Americans. It is our hope and goal that this milestone event will serve as a bridge between Atlanta’s multi ethnic communities. As such, we are making a concerted effort to make sure that the audience at this event will comprise as many Americans not of Arab descent as Arab Americans.”

The film took eight years to produce and was shot in 11 states in order to chronicle the Arab-American experience and history, and showcases prominent and everyday Arab Americans over the span of American history.

In his inaugural debut as producer and director, Abe Kasbo’s timely new film vividly paints a portrait of the Arab-American immigrant experience through the stories of people who came to the United States hoping to find the American dream, including Senator George Mitchell, actor Jamie Farr, Presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader, General John Abizaid, Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid, former White House reporter Helen Thomas, Indianapolis 500 legend Bobby Rahal, actor and founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Danny Thomas, Congressman Nick Rahall, and others.

A THOUSAND AND ONE JOURNEYS: THE ARAB AMERICANS places the Arab-American immigrant experience within the context of American history and experience, telling the untold story of almost 150 years of enrichment of the American fabric by immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula to the United States. The documentary explores early and multiple waves of immigration, along with the tremendous impact of 9/11 on the Arab American community and its challenges and dreams in light of the zeitgeist.

The documentary had its North American theatrical premiere at FilmFest /Arabian Sights Film Festival DC in October 2015 to a sell-out audience, and more recently also attracted a sell-out crowd in New York City on December 6, 2015.  In March 2016, it garnered a “Best Home Grown Documentary Feature” award at the New Jersey Film Festival in Atlantic City. In 2016, the film has played for packed audiences at screenings in Toledo, OH; Utica, NY; Houston, TX; and South Orange, Little Falls and Paterson, NJ.  Requests for screenings are coming from Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Audience reaction:

“Your work is so important to not forget the melodic sounds in all this cacophony of loud shrieks.  So, thank you for doing your part in taking charge of the narrative.  I hope lots of people will hear you!!!”

“Incredibly powerful reminder of American history and the contributions of all Americans.”

 “Abe Kasbo’s new film A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans clearly and beautifully exemplifies what so many people, of any nationality, experienced immigrating to the U.S. His documentary is about what being American is all about.”   

 “The timeliness of this film’s completion, with current world events, only speaks louder of what we all need to keep in mind about who we are as Americans and citizens of humanity.”

As director Abe Kasbo put it, “The Arab-American experience is truly an American story. Just like Polish and Italian Americans, the immigration of Arabic speaking people to the United States and their evolution into integral, productive citizens is a purely American phenomenon. As Americans, we can only complete our story when we recognize everyone else’s story.”

About Abe Kasbo

Director/producer Abe Kasbo grew up in Aleppo, Syria, where he played cowboys and Indians with his friends on the city’s bustling streets. He was fascinated by American and American values when as a child, he watched The Virginian and Little House on the Prairie subtitled in Arabic, and read Superman and Batman comics in his native tongue. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 and settled in Paterson, NJ. He credits Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and The Fonz (Henry Winkler) on the hit series Happy Days along with Melissa Gilbert and the cast of Little House on the Prairie for helping him learn English in his first year in America.

Foundation support for the film: John Templeton Foundation, The Victor Machuga Foundation.

About ALIF Institute

The Alif Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit American education, culture, arts, and enrichment center with a focus on the Arab culture and Arab Americans. Founded in 2004, the ALIF Institute’s mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of Arab culture. The public is encouraged to become supporters of the Alif Institute and its mission by becoming a member or by making a tax-deductible donation at alifinstitute.org.