Anaheim's Little Arabia Plays a Role in Fledgling Film About Syrian Refugees

A Cal State Long Beach graduate and self-described “atheist filmmaker” wants you … to help fund his fledgling documentary that aims to humanize Muslims and refugees (otherwise known as the wrestling move “The Reverse Trump”).

Deric Mendes, who majored in political science and minored in philosophy at CSULB, went on to get stories published in The Nation, North Coast Journal, Arcata Eye and the magazine he publishes, Bold Type. He's also a professional photographer and, now, a filmmaker working with a diverse crew on Watani Ana (I Am My Homeland).

“Our Emmy-nominated crew is volunteering because, even though we're not Syrian, Arab or Muslim, we really want to present a strong journalistic piece that will positively contribute to the national discourse,” he tells the Weekly.

The up close and personal look at Syrian migrants and refugees has already involved cameras being taken to Anaheim's Little Arabia, Mendes says.

But finishing the project will require another $38,000—or at least that's how much more money is needed to reach the film's Kickstarter goal. Click there to see a clip from what's been shot, and click below for the director's message:

The plan is to get Watani Ana before audiences at festivals, universities and independent theaters before finding a place on Netflix or with some other major outlet. Perhaps that would eventually help change some minds—and trump the heated political rhetoric. 

“I want to emphasize that this film is aiming to fight discrimination and to help reunite refugees with family members,” Mendes says. “We hope to dispel the myth that 'they are all terrorists' and instead show how Syrian and American they really are.”

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