CAAM proactively seeks out Asian American storytellers producing undertold narratives from the Asian American experience. We are excited to be investing in storytellers and programming with a new slate of projects, primarily in development, and are planning to expand upon our decades long work in support of Muslim filmmakers and their films, to fortify a robust Muslim filmmaker community.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world and foundational to the Asian diaspora experience, but the Muslim narrative paradoxically holds a uniquely politicized position in American culture and politics. The Muslim filmmaking community has been articulating its forceful voice, and CAAM seeks to be a trusted partner in building a future where Muslim and Muslim American experiences are valued and authentically portrayed.
Read on to learn more about four documentaries CAAM is supporting to elevate Muslim stories.
Angel Dose directed and produced by Sami Khan
Angel Dose I A short documentary I 26 mins / USA / 2022
Each night after his shift Tarik, a South Asian-American nurse, races against time to deliver expiring vaccines across Philadelphia to homebound patients before the doses spoil. But the cheerful and ever-optimistic Tarik soon realizes that he will have to change policy to address systemic biases in healthcare. So he decides to run for political office and faces off against an entrenched establishment candidate.
Dhupshikha directed and produced by Rahi Hasan, cinematographer Rawyan Shayema, impact strategist Ho Chi Minh Islam and trauma informed wellness coach Nafisa Islam
Dhupshikha I A feature documentary I 60 mins / USA/ Bangladesh / 2023
A Muslim Bangladeshi immigrant housewife and mother, Shahanuka Hasan Shikha, discovers herself in her mid-fifties as an artist. She takes the Bangla word Dhupshikha as her artist name. “Dhup” means incense, and “shikha” means flame. To her, it is a metaphor for burning herself to ash while spreading fragrant smoke to everyone around her. The film follows Shikha’s journey from being seen as a person with no value beyond being a housewife and a mother by her family and society, to an award winning, published poet and host of numerous art and literary variety shows, including her own, celebrated in her home country and the Bangali diaspora. Dhupshikha recognizes and highlights the milestones Shikha reached in the last seven years while carving a path of healing and liberation through poetry for herself and countless womxn like her.
Sanctuary, Purgatory directed by Razi Jafri, produced by Zoe Sua Cho and associate produced by Karson Schenk
Sanctuary, Purgatory I A feature documentary I 120 mins / USA/ Korea/ Yemen / 2023
Trapped in a Kafkaesque asylum limbo in South Korea, Omar, a refugee tries to reunite with his wife and children who remain in Yemen. Thousands of miles away, in Michigan, Omar’s father Mohamad — who himself had to leave behind his family three decades earlier — watches wishfully as his son navigates a bureaucratic and politicized immigration system. Across generations and geographies, we observe the lengths Omar’s family must go to find safety and reunification.
Arkanistan directed and produced by Amman Abbasi
Arkanistan I A feature documentary I 120 mins / USA/ Afghanistan / 2023
Arkanistan follows the journey of a prospective Afghan refugee family as they navigate the challenges of rebuilding their lives in a new country. After fleeing violence and persecution in Afghanistan, the family arrives in Little Rock, Arkansas as part of a resettlement program. The film intimately chronicles their struggles and triumphs as they learn to adapt to their new surroundings and culture, all while trying to hold onto their rich Afghan heritage.
These projects are supported by CAAM through funding by the Doris Duke Foundation.