Online Film Contest Offers a Look into Lives of American Muslims
One Nation, a philanthropic collaborative aimed at challenging stereotypes of American Muslims, and Link TV, the first national television channel dedicated to providing global perspectives, announced today the five winners of the “One Nation, Many Voices” online film contest; the contest is aimed at promoting tolerance, understanding, and respect for religious freedom among all Americans.
The five winning films, each running five minutes or less and available online, are a mix of fictional and true stories and explore: job discrimination, religious conversion, Islam’s take on the environment, finding allies in unlikely places and the impact of a small town Muslim high school teacher on his non-Muslim students.
The grand prize winning-film, “Arab in America,” parodies the real-life experiences of filmmaker and Georgia native Nabil Abou-Harb, whose name has posed challenges for him when seeking jobs.
Voters in the U.S. cast over 26,000 online ballots on the contest’s site (www.linktv.org/onenation
) to choose the 29 finalists from among over 150 entries and then a panel of distinguished judges narrowed the pool down to five winners. The judges are Grammy-winning songwriter Kenneth Gamble, country singer Kareem Salama, comedian Preacher Moss, Muslim Girl Magazine editor-in-chief Ausma Khan, writer and former Jesuit seminarian Chris Lowney, and the grand prize winner of last year’s film contest, Lena Khan.
Abou-Harb will receive a $25,000 cash prize and a broadcast debut on Link TV. The winner in each of the other four categories will receive $5,000 and a FLIP camera. Last year’s grand-prize-winning music video by Lena Khan, “A Land Called Paradise,” has been licensed by the State Department for use on its America.gov Web site and for presentation to 30 foreign embassies. It has since become an Internet sensation, noted on Jordanian Queen Rania’s Web site as a “Favorite” and receiving hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube and various blogs.
The winners’ entries are viewable online at http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/finalists
. The full list of winners follows:
1. “Arab in America” by Nabil Abou-Harb in Athens, Georgia
Grand Prize Winner – $20,000 Cash Award
The American Muslim Life Category Winner – $5,000 Cash Award
“Arab in America” humorously chronicles the journey of an American-born character named, “Osama Ahmed Abou-Bakr” and his plight to find a job in America’s post-9/11 atmosphere. The story highlights the hardships of Arabs and Muslims living in the United States of America. The character, “Osama,” a recent college graduate, cannot get anyone to hire him so he resorts to a drastic measure: changing his name from “Osama Ahmed Abou-Bakr” to the more appealing “Samuel Adam Baker.” Instantly, he’s offered a high-paying job. However, concealing his true identity turns into a daunting task that unfortunately “Sam” cannot keep up; he eventually comes clean. The script is loosely based on real-life events that continue to plague Nabil and his family members. Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/419
2. “The Colors of Veil” by Jehan S. Harney in Alexandria, VA
American Muslim Women – $5,000 Cash Award
“The Colors of Veil” tells the true story of Kimberly King, a former US soldier who ultimately found her identity by converting to Islam and choosing to wear a headscarf. She has since become an interfaith leader working in partnership with her husband, a well-known imam in Maryland.
Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/414
3. “Ladylike” by Safiya Songhai in New York, NY
Two Faiths, One Film – $5,000 Cash Award
“Ladylike” shows what happens when a scantily clad Brooklynite encounters her (much) more modest Muslim neighbor. Sometimes it is the person you least expect who will give you the shirt off of their back. Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/434
4. “The Teacher” by Scott P. Harris in Flower Mound, TX
60-Second Spot Category Winner – $5,000 Cash Award
“The Teacher” is a brief documentary profile of a dynamic high school physics teacher who provides his small-town students with a different view of Muslims. Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/444
5. “Green Blue Sea” by Rolla Selbak in San Francisco, CA
Youth Story – $5,000 Cash Award
“Green Blue Sea” is an inspirational profile of a young Muslim Scuba diver whose faith gives him a deep reverence for the sea and the natural world around him.
Watch it here: http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/384