“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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Comments on ““A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans” Chicago premiere”
NOTES from the WTTW broadcast
1902 Nicola Raha left his village in Lebanon immigrated to America and settled in West Virginia.
The Arab Americans
A film by Abe Kasbo
Chaldean Catholic priest from Iraq came in the 1600s … but real migration 1880 to 1924 … early Syrian immigrants from Aleppo, Damascus, Lebanon
Interviews with Ralph Nader, Philip Kayal (from Aleppo) (Seton Hall University professor)
Locust infestation of food stuffs pushed the first migration of Christian Arabs from Lebanon and Syria
Gen John Abizaid (Ret), family moved to Boston
Many Arab immigrants were identified as Turks, Greeks (because of the Ottoman Empire)
Anthony Shadid interview
Many immigrants changed or had their names changed by the immigration officers at Ellis Island
Jamie Farr (Farrah Aboud, his father …) so they gave him the last name “Farr”
“Little Syria,” Washington Street, in New York … in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century
Al-Hoda (The Guidance) first Arab newspaper in America
Created Syrian owned clothing manufacturing stores and industries in New York and New Jersey
Nick Rahall spoke about his grand parents coming to America and sell door-to-door
Suri Kasirer, consultant
Many Arabs moved into the Syrian Jewish community in New York
500 families from Kassim in Lebanon settled in Waterville, Maine at end of 19th Century
Former Senator George Mitchell, his mother was from Kassim and came to Waterville. She worked the overnight shift in the textile mills
200 Syrians went to Oklahoma at turn of the century including the family of Anthony Shadid
Jamie Farr’s father and uncle went to Montana, and then settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His grandfather was a grocer in Cedar Rapids. Jamie was the only one born in Toledo, Ohio
Khalil Gibran Boston, 2nd largest Syrian population in American in early 20th Century (1920s).
What a great program