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Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football


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I wanted to wait a few days to post this, but my cousin, his wife, and another cousin's husband, produced and directed this movie, which is playing in theaters in 11 cities across America.

Brief synopsis: In 2009 they filmed the Fordson High School football team, in Dearborn Michigan, which has the highest population of Arab Americans in the US. 98 percent of the football team is Muslim and they followed the team during the week of their big rivalry game with Dearborn.

The twist: It was during Ramadan and the vast majority of the team was fasting.

Personally I think it was a good movie although to me a bit clunky and tried to hit on every "Muslim" issue under the sun in the post 9/11 world (don't worry I told my cousins this). Here is a link to the NYT review, and a youtube trailer. If you get the chance, go see it

http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/movies/fordson-faith-fasting-football-review.html?src=recg

Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football

As the title credits roll in “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football” — a documentary about Fordson High School’s football team, whose ranks are drawn from the predominantly Arab population of Dearborn, Mich. — we hear a gripping audio montage of anti-Muslim tirades.

These sound bites of unidentified but recognizable talk radio and cable news mainstays are the kind of provocations regularly criticized by media watchdogs. But when all of this hatemongering is mashed together with a sweeping orchestral march, the individual instances of bigotry are transformed into something larger: a glimpse of how monstrous our post-9/11 hysteria may appear to future students of American history.

“Fordson,” however, does not condemn the United States. It rather proudly affirms the American dream, reclaiming it for Muslims who see no conflict between their patriotism and their faith.

As the vehicle for these sentiments, “Fordson” deploys that quintessential genre of Americana: the small-town sports drama. A feud with a well-heeled, crosstown rival (“cake eaters,” as one student memorably describes them) builds to a climactic senior year face-off. Such conventions are given a small twist by the football season’s concurrence with Ramadan (which finds most players fasting from dawn to dusk) and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Though there are few surprises, the emotional arc is satisfying enough, and the film briefly touches on interesting administrative issues the school has faced, like coordinating statewide academic calendars with Islamic holidays and defining policy toward student prayer.

“Fordson” embraces the cohesive insularity of Dearborn’s ethnically homogenous, socially conservative population. Many children live at home until marriage, commuting to nearby colleges, and few leave the town as adults. one of the interesting subtexts of “Fordson” is how closely the tribalism it celebrates mirrors that of the right-wing demagogues heard earlier. When the interviewees insist, again and again, that they are no different from the “regular Americans” who are so receptive to xenophobic rhetoric, the affirmation may sound unintentionally ambivalent.

Click link for rest

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That is a really compelling trailer, SHF. It promises an emotionally powerful film. Congratulations to your cousin on this

Thanks DT. The executive producer (who married one of my cousins) I blame for the rise of high school sports games on ESPN, because its been all him putting it together and promoting those games for years :ols:

But yea, this is a huge accomplishment for them since it was essentially another job on the side, besides their full time "real jobs"

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I can remember visiting my Grandfather in Dearborn shortly before he died- 2003 iirc- I was buying a car from his neighbor so we had to go to the DMV to get the title transferred. It was packed, probably 200 people crammed into a tiny space in a strip mall. We were the only people there who weren't middle eastern- including the workers. They had to find someone who spoke English well enough to help us.

Interesting to see how their sons (and daughters) are acclimating to America, and interesting that so much of it is being done through sports. Looks like an interesting movie

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Interesting to see how their sons (and daughters) are acclimating to America, and interesting that so much of it is being done through sports. Looks like an interesting movie

I think sports is the great "assimilator" in America. In the huddle, it doesn't really matter where you are from, its just about hitting the guy hard on the other team and making a play.

Along with that, I think in most young males there is that competitive spirit. If these kids were born in Lebanon or wherever in the Middle East, they'd probably be playing soccer with the nieghborhood kids.

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Were Sarge and NavyDave consultants on this?

:ols:

Sadly, Rashid Ghazi (the excutive producer, financier, married to my cousin, has an awesome man cave in some Chi town suburb with 8 TVs to watch football) kept this thing such a secret as not to get the attention of people like that.

His wife (who is my cousin and is also the sister of the other producer) told me off hand that they were doing this back in early 2010, but never to say anything just so that it wouldn't draw attention. And this was all before the Park 51 fiasco last summer

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