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Having recently arrived from the Middle East, two sisters find themselves roaming a ghost town in the American Midwest. As they struggle to connect to the alien land as well as to their family back home, tensions between them build, threatening the only comfort and support they have: each other.

Film completion date: July 2018.

Director's Statement:

My family immigrated to Ames, Iowa in 2004 from a shanty neighborhood in West Beirut. As a preteen, I imagined I was traveling to the movies, but reality in the Midwest soon proved to be very grim. At 17, and from the inability to reconcile my polar upbringing, I left my family to go back to Lebanon. Years later during Christmas of 2016, my younger sister and I went to visit our parents in Iowa after 3 years of absence. Trump had just been sworn into office but Ames had not changed. The first night there, we went out to a bar with our friends when one hour in we were harassed by a group of locals shouting “Go back to where you came from you Arabian sluts!” Nobody stood up for us, my sister and i, not even our old high school friends. But for us, this was not about Trump. Both of us came to age in Iowa aware of this sentiment, in people’s confused stares and in their silly questions. For us, nothing had really changed. That was the last time we visited Iowa; a few months later, after residing there for 14 years, my parents finally moved to Louisiana.

It was then, in the last Christmas we spent in Ames, Iowa, that I decided to make this film. I wanted to capture an amalgam of the emotions I had as an alien intruder in a far away and strange land. I wanted to juxtapose our culture (through the music) and our language (through the dialogue) against this barren, cold and silently violent land that we came to call home. I needed to create a film where its different elements were not supposed to fit, were not used to being married as a single experience.
Yumna Marwan
Yumna Marwan
11 Minutes
U.S.A., Lebanon
1/26/19 1:30pm at Acadiana Center for the Arts (AcA)
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