Our team is determined to do justice to a story that so many people have experienced. Having your financial support will not only contribute to one film, but to a larger movement of representation. Together, we can help shape a society where cultural differences are not barriers to equality.
In Partnership With
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University
Inclusion StatementWe’re sharing a story representative of countless Syrian immigrants in America, calling attention to recurrent acts of prejudice they, and other minorities alike, encounter on a regular basis. Our women led team paves way to increase minority representation both in front of and behind the camera.
About The Project
Whether here or there, today or yesterday, we’ve all questioned our identity, endured the pressure to question it, experienced some kind of unwarranted prejudice, felt lost. Amal is a story with a goal of bringing a sense of unification and reassurance.
We follow Amal, a nine-year-old Syrian refugee, who lives with her mother, Lamees, and younger sister, Hiba, in a California beachtown. It’s summer break and the sisters are staying at the Middle Eastern restaurant Lamees works at. Luckily for Amal, this is the perfect place to be for someone with a dream to become a chef. And most certainly a way for two sisters to bond. However, one day, Amal walks out to see a customer blatantly expressing his prejudice against Muslims and immigrants alike toward her mother. This traumatic event causes Amal to question her cultural identity, distancing herself from her family, language, and her passion for cooking.
Amal finds solace at the local beach. Taking Hiba there without their mother knowing, the sisters bond over seashell hunting. To Amal's surprise, she meets Skye, a girl with a golden spirit and hair to match. While distant at first, Amal quickly learns of Skye's interest in her culture and identity. As their trust for each other grows, Skye helps Amal appreciate who she is and where she comes from, as well as revive her trust in others.
From the Writer/Director:
I didn’t know where to begin with the story until I questioned myself about my intent on making this film. In a personal sense, it would be a very cathartic experience, a means for me to make something virtually tangible that would help me understand my feelings and thoughts about the prejudice toward a group of people I identify with. But after removing myself for a moment, remembering that experiences such as this are and have been shared by many for hundreds of years, I finally had a starting point and was typing away with lightning speed. During today's political climate, I only hope that my team and I honor this story in a way that unites us all, our country and others as well.
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About This Team
Going into my senior year at Chapman University is both an exciting and momentous part of my life, and I can’t ask for a better way to spend it than with a team that is as passionate and driven to tell this story as I am. As a second-generation American, a daughter of Syrian immigrants, writing Amal has been a very self-reflective experience. Looking ahead, I can only see myself learning more about people like me, people not like me, and the human condition, the latter of which attracted me most to storytelling. On my own time, I enjoy talking with my family in silly accents, napping with my four cats, making graphic art, and trying to perfect my Italian (trying).
Ever since my first script read of Amal, I knew this story would help me in a time I needed it the most. I’m so excited to work with Nour and our entire team to bring such an important story to life. My favorite aspect of the production process is collaborating with both right and left minded individuals to find innovative ways to tell timeless narratives. Outside of school, interning, and work, I love to do CrossFit, explore virtual reality worlds, play beach volleyball, and travel.
I am a Television Writing and Production major with an Advertising minor. My background in photography, stage lighting, and my love for filmmaking have guided me to become a cinematographer. I am thrilled to be working with such an amazing group of people on this project. As soon as I read the script for Amal I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I truly believe this story will spread an important message about friendship and acceptance.
As an activist, feminist, and filmmaker, I could not be more honored to be the UPM for Amal. I am a senior Creative Producing Major with a minor in Women’s Studies. In a time where fear and hate are growing ever present in society, I believe it is essential to tell stories that remind us of the importance of love and acceptance, regardless of from where we come. In my “free time” I enjoy baking, ballroom dancing, randomly breaking out into song and dance, and being homozygous for the happy gene.
As a second-generation American, the son of Syrian immigrants, I've always felt a tug and pull between my eastern and western identities. Whether they overlap or contradict, I view myself as a product of both and the opportunity to work on a film that embodies this identity crisis at a time as decisive as now, will be fulfilling. I am especially excited to pay homage to the modest beauty of Arabic art by dressing sets attuned to centuries of geometric harmony and the abundant motif of creation. Outside of Amal, I like watching bootlegged Broadway shows. I always feel bad after though.
I’m a Film Production Major at Chapman from San Diego, California going into my Senior year. Over the past few years I’ve come to enjoy the collaborative process and the chances it provides us to improve as storytellers. I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work with this team on what looks to be a unique, challenging and memorable film.
Noah Kovalick is a Senior Film Production student with an emphasis in audio at Chapman University Dodge College in Orange, CA. He earned his associates degree in Film, Television, and Media at Moorpark College where he also helped rebuild the sound studio. His passion for audio was evident early when he became a DJ where he was known as DJ XRAY. He is also a member of the Audio Engineering Society. In 2013 Noah was selected to participate in Grammy Camp, Los Angeles where he worked with students and Grammy award winning faculty as part of the audio engineering program. Noah lives in Newbury Park, California and in his spare time enjoys working on his vintage BMW.
As a senior Creative Producing major at Chapman University, there is nothing I love more than an adventure, and film allows me to embark on a new one every weekend, and Amal is no exception. Everyone has felt isolated and powerless at some point in their life, and as female filmmakers it is our duty to show these stories of perceived weaknesses becoming strengths. In the time I am not working on creating films, I love to explore nature backpacking, engage in philosophical debates as a member of Chapman’s Ethics minor and semi-finalist Ethics Bowl team, and pursuing a career in animation.
Nour's script is a terse, sophisticated meditation on food, childhood, and the effects of bigotry on those too young to come to terms with its presence. It seized my attention for its largely internal application of character conflict -- illustrated by way of visual metaphor -- when in fact mainstream film near-exclusively deals in external conflict. It goes without saying that, in the face of the rising tide of racial malevolence, we ought to support projects such as these. I look forward to serving as Amal's first assistant director.
As a student filmmaker, I am constantly searching for rich and important stories to tell; Amal is just that. This script is full of powerful moments that shed light on the importance of acceptance and unification. I’m honored to be Nour’s Second Assistant Director and will do my very best to make this production run as smoothly as possible. I have three years of experience as a creative producer and understand the power of teamwork and collaboration on set. In my free-time I listen to music, take photographs, and host my own radio show on Chapman Radio.
I am a News and Documentary major who, only recently, has begun dipping her toes into the film world. I absolutely love and am thrilled to be working as the location manager for Amal. As an LGBTQ+ studies minor I believe that films like Amal that promote acceptance and love for different minority groups are desperately needed. In my free time I love doing art projects, going to the beach and reading!