We often urge our youth to pursue culturally relevant fields of work that can help our community define itself, and prime among those fields we have frequently identified is media and film.
Well, here you have one of our own, Chicago’s Assia Boundaoui, who over the last decade, has taken the message to heart and launched a career as a serious journalist and filmmaker, graduating with a masters degree in journalism from a top school, New York University, and impressing with her work at top media venues like NPR, BBC, VICE, Al Jazeera, and HBO. She has worked as a journalist on the ground on three continents, a producer, and now as a director of her first feature film documentary.
Unlike some journalists/filmmakers, Assia has not allowed her mainstream success to dictate red lines for her, and has always sought to use her talents to shed light on insightful, accurate and often exclusive reports of interest to her own community. In that sense, her success is not personal to her, but a success shared with all of us. I am impressed to see the former young intern at CAIR-Chicago trail blaze and you should to.
Her first feature film documentary is of immense relevance to all of us, Muslims, Americans, and people of conscience. “The Feeling of Being Watched” dares to tread where few others have, shedding light on the human side – that is the ordinary families – affected by wide dragnet government surveillance that targets people based on little more than religion and identity. It is a story close to home, literally and figuratively. One that everyone must watch – and more importantly, fully understand.
As she winds down filming, the project has launched a kickstarter campaign to crowd source funds for its completion. It hopes to raise 30,000 in 30 days. So far it has raised 14k with 7 days to go. Watch this excerpt of this incredible project and contribute to letting stories that have lurked in the darkness – much to our collective detriment – finally see the light of day. If it is not documented history, it didn’t happen. It is up to us to put our experiences on the record books of memory and conscience.
Assia heeded our call, and dedicated herself to filling a critical void. Will we abandon our own call, or will we stand with her – with ourselves – now?