The Citizen is a new independent film directed by Sam Kadi and revolves around different true stories about the difficulties and the success Arab-Americans encounter in American History. This drama is the story of an Arab immigrant who was able to win the American green card lottery and arrives in New York City a day before the September 11 terrorist attack. He must then face the struggles on his way to live out the American Dream after the 9/11 changes his whole life. The Citizen stars Khaled El Nabawy, Agnes Bruckner, Rizwan Manji, William Atherton and Cary Elwes. Read the latest news for this film below:
“Sam Kadi Talks about His New Film – The Citizen
Syria-born, Michigan-based filmmaker Sam Kadi assembled a strong cast including Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), William Atherton (Die Hard), Agnes Bruckner and Egyptian star Khaled Nabawy for his debut feature, The Citizen, which is screening in the New Horizons competition at Abu Dhabi (Oct 14, 9:30pm & Oct 15, 9:45pm)
Nabawy plays an Arab immigrant who arrives in New York the day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The English-language film premiered at the Boston Film Festival, where it won best ensemble cast, and was recently picked up for international sales by Radiant Films International.
Kadi, already a respected playwright in Syria, moved to the US in 2000 and carved a career in theatre, radio and finally film. His short film, Raised Alone, won eight awards including best family film at the New York International Film Festival. He produced The Citizen with Chris Wyatt and Alan Noel Vega, while Ameer Kabour served as executive producer.
Where did you get the idea for the film?
The script took about three years and for the most part was inspired by the American Dream and how we perceive it from our perspective as immigrants and Arabs. What does this dream mean to us and what do we sacrifice to earn it? After 9/11 people thought this dream doesn’t exist any more. I thought that the circumstances became so difficult; it just means we have to work harder to earn it.
I thought it would be interesting to catch this through the eyes of someone from this region. A lot of us have been waiting a long time to see this kind of story on the big screen.
Is the main character based on people you know?
He was inspired by several characters I know, not one individual, and there are also pieces of myself in there. I wanted him to be unique and at the same time authentic.
Why did you choose Khaled Nabawy to play him?
I thought the best way to make this move as authentic as possible is to find somebodyfrom the Arab world who can convey how it feels when you first arrive in America. I didn’t want somebody with perfect English. One of the challenges was that Khaled was surrounded by Hollywood actors and carrying a 200-page script with heavy dialogue, especially in the third act. We tried to be very careful in the way that we gradually improve the way he talks – the dialogue and vocabulary that he uses – without you being aware. It’s very real as the longer you stay in a country; the more your language develops.”
Click here to read the rest of the article at Screen Daily.
The Citizen will have a limited screening on September 27th 2013.
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