About this project
The Feeling of Being Watched is the first documentary film to tell the story of the War on Terror from the perspective inside an Arab-American neighborhood.
Since the early 90’s people in Bridgeview, IL have stayed quiet about their deep suspicions of living under government surveillance, and no one has ever dug into why the surveillance may have began. Until now.
This film brings to light an under-represented human story and follows the filmmakers as they investigate what really happened, and may still be happening, in Bridgeview.
Hi everyone, this is Assia and Alex, the filmmakers behind The Feeling of Being Watched. Thanks for visiting our page! We’re racing to finish shooting this documentary, and appreciate you backing up our cause.
The Feeling of Being Watched is the most important project we've ever worked on. It’s about the Arab-American neighborhood where I (Assia) grew up, in the south-suburbs of Chicago.
The War on Terror changed a lot of things in my neighborhood, we were all suddenly looked at through a lens of suspicion. But more than anything else, what really affected us, was the surveillance. We would see strange cars parked on our block, hear clicking sounds on the phone, and get nervous when our neighbors got visits from official-looking men in suits.
In this film, we’re telling the story from my community’s perspective, and it’s an experience shared by Arab and Muslim American communities across the country.
We take you along as we investigate the FBI’s presence in Bridgeview, which we’ve discovered goes back as early as 1993. We need to finish our investigation and this documentary by filming with those on the other side of the lens — the government officials and agents connected to this story.
why it matters...
This film needs to get made so that we can amplify a perspective rarely included in the national conversation on civil rights in a post-9/11 world. A character-driven film about the effects of the ‘War on Terror’ from an Arab-American perspective is needed now more than ever. Your backing will help us complete filming this investigative journey and get this important story out to the world.
This film is a visual exploration of surveillance, where we confront harmful and sometimes violent frames of seeing, through the lens of a camera, and challenge viewers to see beyond their misconceptions and prejudices of the other. We hope that The Feeling of Being Watched will be a catalyst for post-conflict healing that is based on mutual recognition and a way of seeing that is reciprocal.
Our goal with this Kickstarter campaign is to raise $30,000 - the bare minimum funds we need to finish investigating and filming this story. By donating to this campaign, you’re funding this year’s final shoots with FBI agents and federal prosecutors, and paying for our cheap flights, very cheap hotels, equipment rentals, research costs, paying our dedicated crew, and making sure we have the technical resources and wo(man) power we need to complete this project. There's a lot of work ahead, but we know that the end product will be amazing if we can reach our goal.
We've been filming in Bridgeview for three years now, and we are gearing up for our final shoots, which will focus on meetings with FBI agents and federal prosecutors, and returning to the community to share our findings. We’ve been editing the film along the way, and once we’ve finished shooting early next year, we’ll go full-on into the post-production stage of the film. We plan to have a finished film to submit to festivals (and share with all of you!) in late 2016.
a (mini) mini-series...
Over the course of our 4-week campaign, we’re releasing a “mini-miniseries” that will give you a glimpse into the film and our investigation in progress. Each week we’ll drop a new three-minute episode, and by the end of the campaign we’re gonna let you in on one of our biggest discoveries so far, so stay tuned!
Peep the official The Feeling of Being Watched trailer here :
ASSIA BOUNDAOUI (director, producer) is an award winning Algerian-American journalist based in Los Angeles. She’s produced stories for NPR, BBC, AlJazeera America, Vice, HBO Documentary Films and CNN-Films among other outlets and was the recipient of a first place Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Assia has a Masters degree in journalism from New York University.
ALEX BUSHE (director, producer, editor) is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, and has worked on editing numerous documentaries including the Werner Herzog films Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Into The Abyss, Queen of the Desert, and Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. In 2014, he was invited to participate as an assistant editor at the Sundance Institute's Documentary Edit and Story Labs.
JASON LEO BAGUIO (director of photography, producer) has been involved in film for over twenty years. He founded the art collective, The Midnight Studio Rats and is currently working on a film project with professor Noam Chomsky while studying at MIT.
DINESH SABU (director of photography) is an independent documentary filmmaker whose cinematography credits include American Arab, Waking in Oak Creek, and other short works. He is currently directing and producing the feature-length documentary, Unbroken Glass, with Kartemquin Films.
MAYA HAWKE (executive producer) is a fiction writer and filmmaker. She has been credited on ten documentary features as film editor, two of them with director Werner Herzog--including the international hit, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. The films have premiered at the Venice, Telluride, Sundance and Toronto film festivals and were broadcast on HBO and PBS.
We have a thank-you gift for any amount of donation you make, check out our rewards on the right-hand side of the page. For a generous pledge of $150 or more you'll get your choice of one of these specially illustrated tote-bags (designed by Samantha Levy). We'll also send you a DVD of the film when it's released and thank-you by name in our film end-credits.
our proud Supporters...
Risks and challenges
Our primary challenge to completing this film is funding. As an independently financed film, we rely exclusively on donations, non-profit grant support, and crowd-funding to finance the expenses that come with directing, producing and editing a feature-length documentary film. We hope to rely on our grassroots community for support and hope to reach out to them again in the future should we need additional support after this campaign is finished and successfully funded iA.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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