“A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans” to premiere on American television on WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:30 pm
“A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans,” touted as the first historical full-length documentary about Arab Americans produced in United States, will make its American television premiere on WTTW11 in Chicago on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:30 pm. The live broadcast will include an interview with the film’s creator, director and producer Abe Kasbo.
The film took eight years to produce and was shot in 11 states in order to chronicle the Arab-American experience and history, and showcases prominent and everyday Arab Americans over the span of American history, it’s producers said.
In his inaugural debut as producer and director, Abe Kasbo’s timely new film vividly paints a portrait of the Arab-American immigrant experience through the stories of people who came to the United States hoping to find the American dream, including Senator George Mitchell, actor Jamie Farr, Presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader, General John Abizaid, Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid, former White House reporter Helen Thomas, Indianapolis 500 legend Bobby Rahal, actor and founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Danny Thomas, Congressman Nick Rahall, and others.
“A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans” places the Arab-American immigrant experience within the context of American history and experience, telling the untold story of almost 150 years of enrichment of the American fabric by immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula to the United States. The documentary explores early and multiple waves of immigration, along with the tremendous impact of 9/11 on the Arab American community and its challenges and dreams in light of the zeitgeist.
The documentary had its North American theatrical premiere at FilmFest /Arabian Sights Film Festival DC in October 2015 to a sell-out audience, and more recently also attracted a sell-out crowd in New York City on December 6, 2015. In March 2016, it garnered a “Best Home Grown Documentary Feature” award at the New Jersey Film Festival in Atlantic City. In 2016, the film has played for packed audiences at screenings in Toledo, OH; Utica, NY; Houston, TX; and South Orange, Little Falls and Paterson, NJ. Requests for screenings are coming from Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, England, and the United Arab Emirates.
“Your work is so important to not forget the melodic sounds in all this cacophony of loud shrieks. So, thank you for doing your part in taking charge of the narrative. I hope lots of people will hear you!!!”
“Incredibly powerful reminder of American history and the contributions of all Americans.”
“Abe Kasbo’s new film A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans clearly and beautifully exemplifies what so many people, of any nationality, experienced immigrating to the U.S. His documentary is about what being American is all about.”
“The timeliness of this film’s completion, with current world events, only speaks louder of what we all need to keep in mind about who we are as Americans and citizens of humanity.”
As director Abe Kasbo put it, “The Arab-American experience is truly an American story. Just like Polish and Italian Americans, the immigration of Arabic speaking people to the United States and their evolution into integral, productive citizens is a purely American phenomenon. As Americans, we can only complete our story when we recognize everyone else’s story.”
About Abe Kasbo
Director/producer Abe Kasbo grew up in Aleppo, Syria, where he played cowboys and Indians with his friends on the city’s bustling streets. He was fascinated by American and American values when as a child, he watched The Virginian and Little House on the Prairie subtitled in Arabic, and read Superman and Batman comics in his native tongue. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 and settled in Paterson, NJ. He credits Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and The Fonz (Henry Winkler) on the hit series Happy Days along with Melissa Gilbert and the cast of Little House on the Prairie for helping him learn English in his first year in America. Abe is CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, a marketing and public relations firm in Montclair, NJ. He resides in West Caldwell, NJ with his wife Anna and daughter Sofia and son Nicolas.
Foundation support for the film: John Templeton Foundation, The Victor Machuga Foundation.
To learn more about the documentary, please visit arabamericandoc.com.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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