"Marjoun" is an urgent cause. For all who want to understand our mission of "Marjoun" and how it relates to the current Syrian/Palestinian refugee crisis, please read the article I wrote for Mondoweiss.
Every generation has its own coming of age film, ever since "Rebel Without a Cause." Marjoun picks up on James Dean’s inspirations: reaching into all of our collective memories by posturing as he did on his motorcycle, as an outsider in a conformist yet changing multicultural America.
We produce a feature film that is an extension of the short "Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf," official selection of the Sundance Film Festival.
"Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf" tells the story of a teenager in Arkansas who searches for identity in the headscarf and a motorcycle in the aftermath of her father’s imprisonment on dubious terrorist-related charges.
"Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf" explores the life of troubled Muslim youth who have come into focus in news of late. Additionally, this will also be one of the most prominent features set in Little Rock, an area that has witnessed intense racial segregation.
The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School (where we set "Marjoun"). In 1957, their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas.
On September 4 1957, the first day of school at Central High, a white mob gathered in front of the school, and Faubus sent the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the black students from entering. They entered the high school after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Martin Luther King Jr.
In researching our history as Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, I found that the first wave of Arab/Muslim immigration to the U.S. was via slavery. The first recorded Arabic speaker to come to North America was called Zammouri, which in Arabic means someone from Al-Zammour, Morocco. His arrival in America was in the 1500s.
Despite centuries in the U.S., we are outsiders in most of film and TV, and our civil rights are often threatened. For this reason, I chose Marjoun's coming of age to be in Little Rock, weaving her story into the lineage of the Little Rock Nine.
The original music in this campaign is by composer Menno Cruijsen, who we've been working with since "Habibi." Please visit: www.fb.com/marjounandtheflyingheadscarf for more information.
Risks and challenges
At this time, "Marjoun" is exclusively funded by grants - two of which will expire by December 31, 2015. In order to meet the funders' requirements, we must shoot the film before December 31, 2015 - or we will lose the money awarded to "Marjoun." That's why your help right now is so important. For a film like "Marjoun," financing options are not as diverse because we are working with authentic Arab and Arab-American actors and our story is about a marginalized community. That's why it is even more important that you join us on our journey. Films such as "Beasts of the Southern Wild" have proven that films about such communities can find a wider audience. That's our goal with "Marjoun," but we can't do it without you.
This crowdfunding campaign will allow us to close our gap and go into production by our December deadline.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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