Through Adeela OC Filmmakers Explore Islamophobia

Categories: Film
Adeela.jpg
Adeelathemovie.com
As the possible hate crime killing of Iraqi Muslim Shaima Alawadi in El Cajon has ignited discussions on Islamophobia, Adeela an Orange County-based film in pre-production seeks to explore the dialogue further on the silver screen. The story centers around a young Arab-American Muslim woman who moves to a small conservative suburban town. Adeela, played by actress Charity Johnston, becomes the love interest of a local city councilman's son, Aaron.

With the town's Fourth of July festival approaching, the couple push to have Adeela sing the national anthem, an initiative that rankles Aaron's family members and bigot neighbors. How the issue comes to be resolved could stand to change the community forever.

The motivation for the film short, written and directed by OC's Nicholas Paul Ybarra, was based on the sad, sordid display of Islamophobia gone wild last year outside a fundraiser in Yorba Linda where politicians, including Villa Park councilwoman Deborah Pauly, and everyday bigots berated the event. "It kind of blew my mind," says Adeela co-producer Patricia Abi-Rached when she watched the videos on YouTube of people spewing hate at families as they entered and exited the fundraiser. At that point the Garden Grove resident by way of Beirut, Lebanon, who had known the filmmaker in school, wanted to get involved with the project.

If the impetus for Adeela came from the shadow side of Orange County's infamous intolerance, its positive support has come from here as well. I first learned about the film project picking up a postcard as I ordered a Lebanese pizza from Zait & Zataar Restaurant and Bakery in Anaheim's Little Arabia enclave. Sponsors include Olive Tree, the Arab World Newspaper, and Ara's Pastry. The Huntington Beach Film Commission is supporting the effort and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering its services in helping develop the script.



Abi-Rached, as an Arab Christian immigrant woman of color, can also relate to the experiences and expectations of the main character in the film. "She's a Muslim, she wears a hijab, she has her belief and everything, but all she knows is America," the co-producer says of Adeela. "This is how I felt as well. My family and I came to America as a place where you can be yourself, do your thing, build a future for your kids, and do all this without being judged by anybody else. That's how she feels."

To tell the story, the cast and crew has been working on the film for almost a year now. They had tried a Kickstarter campaign early on, but didn't meet the monetary goal. The website for the film still offers incentive-laden pledge levels to meet the $68,000 budget. The moral objective of Adeela remains intact just the same and still propels their efforts. "Our goal is for people to watch it all over the world, not just Arabs," says Abi-Rached hoping to see the project through. "We're basically fighting for this movie to be done to get the message out about justice and equality." The ideal timeline would see shooting commence in late May with completion and release slated by the end of the year. That can only happen, though, if sufficient funds pour in.

Towards that end, filmmakers are hosting the first fundraiser for Adeela this weekend at the Golden Nights Restaurant in Buena Park. Donations will help see the movie through its pre-production, production and post-production phases as well as financing ambitious film festivals submissions. The community fundraiser will feature raffle prizes, music, special guests, videos and food. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to mingle with Adeela's cast and crew.

"The point of the event is to have anybody and everybody from Orange County come to support the film," Abi-Rached adds. "It's just the start."

Adeela's fundraiser takes place at Golden Night Restaurant, 7115 Buena Park, Sat., April 7, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. $25 pre-sale. $30 door.
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18 comments
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Tad
Tad

I'm excited for the fundraiser!  I hope to win some awesome prizes whilst supporting this film and the goal of understanding for our community here in the OC.

Guest
Guest

Yay, I'm excited to see the finished product! 

Raverguy
Raverguy

"Islamophobia" has crept into our lexicon but is a minor issue compared to christophobia.  Witness the pogroms in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia where thousands have been killed solely due to their christian faith (which I do not share), countless churches burned to the ground, etc.  "Islamophobia" is a smoke screen.

mitch young
mitch young

Looking like its not a 'hate crime'. Looking like it is a typical Arab-Muslim crime, of the kind we didn't have when we had a sensible, culturally compatible immigration policy.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

CAIR-San Diego has tracked an uptick in anti-Muslim hostilities in 2012 that nearly outpaces all of last year. Whatever the circumstances surrounding Alawadi's death turn out to be, Islamophobia there and here in OC is still a pressing issue...

...You know, like your remarks about immigration and "typical" Arab-Muslim crime!

A cinematic response in the form of Adeela is something positive to emerge from the ugliness displayed in Yorba Linda a year ago.

909Jeff
909Jeff

The rest of the world has tracked an uptick in Muslim violence against "infidels" since Sirhan Sirhan killed Bobby Kennedy in 68.... 

Perhaps if the ICNA wanted to be taken seriously they wouldn't have invited Malik Ali who openly supports Hezbollah and is an outspoken antisemitic or Siraj Wahhaj an alleged co-conspirator in the 93 bombing at the WTC.  Two FACTS that you left out of your blog post. Certainly that must have been an oversight.

If you read anything I've ever written about Muslims I am HIGHLY critical of them and I base that criticism mostly on the barbaric treatment of women and Gays in the Muslim world.  I'd be first in line to donate to a charity that rescues Muslim women and allows them the freedom of education and the freedom to choose who they want to Marry as opposed to being bartered for a goat and a few Dinar or Rials... 

The 160-page book “A Gift for Muslim Couple”, which advises men how to beat their wives, has been sold out. According to Toronto Sun...

It's 2012 Gabriel... Why is a book called "A Gift for Muslim Couple" advising men how to beat their wives sold out? There is no defense for this! 

Did the protesters in Yorba Linda get out of line? Absolutely.. but the ICNA didnt do themselves any favors by inviting those two Imams and CAIR can take their crocodile tears and try to sell their victim Islamophobia bullshut somewhere else!

909Jeff
909Jeff

I never denied that...but again you fail to recognize that those people were willingly attending the event to listen to hate speech against westerners and the evil Zionists...

You are who you associate yourself with. 

nuff said! 

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Oh that's right...that one person protesting didn't say 'Go home, eat sand!' but rather 'Come to my home and let's play in the sandbox!'

909Jeff
909Jeff

I never said you did... but the motivation for the film was based on the events... Events that certainly will get a revisionist point of view... Like that of CAIR and the staff writers at the weekly...

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

To keep it really simple: Read the plot summary. I didn't write that the film was based on the protests. I said that it's motivation was based on it. Nice try!

909Jeff
909Jeff

Agree to disagree... 

The ICNA should have known that they were playing with fire when they invited these two radical Imams to speak... Again, would you expect protesters to show up and shout insults if a known white supremacist was speaking?  Yes, they would, it just happened a couple months ago in Claremont. The protesters outnumbered the dumb ass white supremacists. But we're cool with that because we agree with the protestors. Coincidentally, I don't agree with radical Imams who preach hate against the great white Satan, and are advocates of Hamas and Hezbollah either. And people who protest these Imams shouldn't be labeled Bigots... Islamophobes... and xenophobes... Because if that's the case than I'm proudly all three!

The protesters did lack a discipline and could have acted in a more civil manner... Likewise the Muslims in attendance could have contacted the ICNA and expressed that they don't want to be affiliated with these radical Anti-American, Anti-Semitic Imams... unless, they agree with the Imams hate speech, and since they were still scheduled to speak I can only assume they agree with the message. Guilt by association. 

I find it interesting that people who showed up to protest these advocates of hate are called islamophobic and xenophobic Yet the Irvine 11 who hurled insults at a foreign dignitary are portrayed as poor victims of the system and were mistreated and misunderstood. You cant have it both ways.

Now back to the film.... (The motivation for the film short, written and directed by OC's Nicholas Paul Ybarra, was based on the sad, sordid display of Islamophobia gone wild last year outside a fundraiser in Yorba Linda where politicians, including Villa Park councilwoman Deborah Pauly, and everyday bigots berated the event.)

Completely glossing over the fact that they were there in direct opposition to supporters of a terrorist organization who would be speaking... 

I bet that doesn't it make it into the film!

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

If the protestors in question had a coherent, disciplined message focused on speakers they found highly objectionable, then that would have come across. But they didn't. Instead, they couldn't help themselves but to heap belligerent chants and insults -- "Go home, eat sand!" (really?) -- upon people (and children) that were chalk full of Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism. That's not surprising given some of the organizations that were involved. (Which I encourage you to look into, if you haven't already)

Now back to the film...

909Jeff
909Jeff

A really good friend of mine was almost never born because his father is a christian Arab and was a colonel in the military in Lebenon... and at the outset of the Civil war in 75, him and his wife (pregnant with my friend at the time) had to flee lebanon... they were detained and ordered executed as traitors (Since he was christian) except the soldier that was ordered to kill them served under my friends dad and had respect for him so he let them escape... sounds like it was straight from the movies.Sirhan Sirhan is an Arab who was born in Jerusalem and who strongly opposed Israel. In 1989, he told David Frost "My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel and his deliberate attempt to send those 50 bombers to Israel to obviously do harm to the Palestinians". Some scholars believe that the assassination was one of the first major incidents of political violence in the United States stemming from the Arab Israeli conflict in the Middle East

909Jeff
909Jeff

Fair enough..

I only point this out because it seems like the protesters always get portrayed as bloodthirsty Anti Islamists when they were there in direct response to the invitations of the radical anti american Imams who would be speaking... If they were really that anti Muslim why didn't they go crash the Persian new year at mason park?

Because the Persians didnt invite radical anti Americans to speak... We respect culture and despise hate speech! 

And I know you'll point out that the hate was directed at innocent families attending the event... Would you still feel the same way if it were a bunch of Whiteys showing up to see David Duke with a performance by Prussian Blue? I didnt think so.  

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

"Did the protesters in Yorba Linda get out of line? Absolutely..."

And that's what the filmmakers are, in part, responding to, but not in a Manichean dualistic way as the words of the cast and crew attest to in promotional videos.

If people want to rehash the particulars of that whole ordeal, they can click the hyperlink for the Weekly's coverage. I encourage them to. As for Alawadi, I deemed it possible because we have a hate filled note at the crime scene, but no suspect apprehended.

Now back to the film...

mitch young
mitch young

I'm with you Jeff, but Sirhan Sirhan is actually from an Arab Christian family. Arab Christians were among the most prominent Arab and Palestinian nationalists until around 1980 or so, that's when Islam replaced nationalism as a motivating ideology in the Middle East.

BTW  Dick Dale is of Arab Christian descent, as is former Indy driver Bobby Rahal, Casey Kasem, and Marlo Thomas (and her late father Danny). Until relatively recently most people of Arab descent in the US were Christians. 

mitch young
mitch young

Facts apparently don't matter to you.

It will turn out that Alawadi's death was not a so-called 'hate crime'. In a sense you are correct, though, that this is not a typical Arab crime (and by that I mean not that most Arabs in the US typically comit it, but that some crimes like 'honor killings' are simply not done by anyone else). The difference in Alawadi's case is that it appears that the daughter wasn't willing to be pressured into an arranged marriage to her cousin, and took matters into her own hands (or put them in her boyfriends hands).

 'Islamophobia' is a bullshit term, just like 'xenophobia' and 'homophobia' -- in fact, psychologizing policy and political differences was a trademark of the old Soviet Union, so it doesn't surprise me you lefties have adopted a milder form of the tactic here in the US. Name one person with an OC connection who has been killed by 'Islamophobia' , or one OC 'Islamophobe' who has killed a Muslim. I can sure name an OC Muslim who has killed in the name of his religion.---Authorities identified the gunman [who killed three at the LAX El Al counter] as 41-year-old Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who came to the United States from Egypt in 1992 and had been living in Irvine, California, for the last two years. ---

So it appears that the real problem is Islam, and 'fear' of it is merely rational. 

BetaRayBill
BetaRayBill

You should probably look up the scientific definition of “phobia”.  You speak as if you were an authority on psychology.I wonder what your definition of bigotry is

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