Campaign successfully funded on: 30 Jul,2017
Aswat Nabila follows Palestinian American Nabila Mango, formerly a mental health worker before founding Aswat, the first Arabic music ensemble in the Bay Area, bringing together and dramatically changing the lives and outlook of its Arab and Muslim American members. The film captures Nabila’s preservation of “collective musical memory” for Arab and Muslim Americans, which despite aging and battling cancer, she’s determined to sustain during Trump’s presidency. Meanwhile, Nabila searches for a successor to keep Aswat alive. The future of the ensemble is unknown, but Nabila’s voices will be heard.
WHY ASWAT NABILA?
Besides shattering any misconceived idea about Arab and Muslim women, Nabila is a renaissance figure and a force of nature. As a breast cancer survivor who is over 70 years old, she continues to be a champion of her community. Hers is a story of passion, and of touching other people’s lives, Arabs and others alike, through building bridges of music across the Bay Area diverse communities. “Aswat Nabila” weaves stories from the 17 years of her Aswat Ensemble that center around classical Arab music, and how it became an expression of Arabs and Muslims’ cultural identities and collective musical memories in the Bay Area. It is a story about the profound power of music and community to change people’s outlook and perspective of themselves and their place in a larger cultural context.
As a filmmaker, I see Nabila’s Aswat Ensemble as a window through which Arab- and Muslim- American identity issues can be explored in relation to Arab music. “Aswat Nabila” is not only a story about how Arab and Muslim immigrants integrated into American society in the Bay Area, whilst also holding on to their identity through music - it is also a reflection of how many marginalized communities can connect with similar identity struggles in a polarized media landscape. This is evident in the collaborations of Nabila and Aswat with musical groups from different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds. The strength, resistance and sense of humor of Nabila’s character are captivating, and it highlights complex notions of identity and collective memory to the screen.
WHAT WE NEED
The main goal for seeking funds is to complete a rough cut by December 2017, which includes logging, transcribing and editing tons of hours of footage that we have been filming over the past three years.
R&D for the film began in Spring 2014. We have completed 70% of the production phase, including most of the first and second acts and the transition scenes, focusing on Nabila's daily life over the past two years. We plan to continue filming and logging more footage and following Nabila (doing verite shoots) to finish her character arc, and also covering Aswat Ensemble concerts and continuous collaborations with minority groups’ choirs.
Producer | Director Mohammed Alhamoud is a filmmaker and producer based in Saudi Arabia and the San Francisco Bay Area. Leaving behind a career in law, he co-founded the award-winning Talashi Films in Riyadh in 2008. He obtained an MFA in Film from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2013. His films have screened at international film festivals and venues, and his more recent works were broadcast on BBC, BBC Arabic and Rotana. Aswat Nabila is his first feature documentary.
Producer | Editor Chihiro Wimbush most recently, Chihiro co-directed “The People’s Hospital” about the new Chinese Hospital in San Francisco’s Chinatown and edited “The Ride” about Public Defender Jeff Adachi and the injustices of the justice system (currently being developed into a full feature documentary). Both films premiere at CAAMFest this spring and “The People’s Hospital” had its broadcast premiere on San Francisco Public Television, KQED, this May. “The Ride” became a feature documentary called“ Defender” (also edited by Chihiro) that premiered at the Castro Theater for the SF International Film Festival in April 2017. He also directed and edited a new short documentary on Chinese Culture Center’s new art installation “Liminal Space/Crossings.”
There are no updates for this project yet.