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About the Film
Year Released: 
Running Time: 

Director Cherien Dabis’s auspicious debut feature, Amreeka, is a warm and lighthearted film about one Palestinian family’s tumultuous journey into Diaspora amidst the cultural fallout of America’s war in Iraq.

Muna Farah, a Palestinian single mom, struggles to maintain her optimistic spirit in the daily grind of intimidating West Bank checkpoints, the constant nagging of a controlling mother, and the haunting shadows of a failed marriage. Everything changes one day when she receives a letter informing her that her family has been granted a U.S. green card. Reluctant to leave her homeland, but realizing it may be the only way to secure a future for Fadi, her teenage son, Muna decides to quit her job at the bank and visit her relatives in Illinois to see about a new life in a land that gives newcomers a run for their money.

Dabis weaves an abundance of humor and levity into this tale of struggle, displacement, and nostalgia and draws an absorbing and irresistibly charming performance from actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, who stands at the heart of this tale. Amreeka glows with the truth and magic of everyday life and signals the arrival of an exciting, new directorial talent.

— Shari Frilot, Sundance Film Festival

Film Director: 
Production Info
Reported or Estimated Budget: 
Ramallah, Palestine, Bethlehem, Palestine & Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Other Interesting Production Info: 
There are no White Castles in Winnipeg, so the White Castle company sent supplies over to the filming location at Winnipeg. Despite it not selling food, people kept trying to order from it. (IMDb) Dabis shot Amreeka with an Arri-416 camera to give the film a fluid and organic film similar to a documentary. (IndieWire)
Categories About the Film
Racial/Ethnic Affiliation: 
Arab American
Filmmaking Team
Writer's Name: 
Cherien Dabis
Zain Al-Sabah, Paul Barkin, Cherien Dabis, Elizabeth Jarvis, Greg Keever, Alicia Sams and Christian Piovesan
Tobias Datum
Primary Cast: 
Nisreen Faour, Melkar Mualiem, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abo Warda
Exhibition/Distribution Info
National Geographic Entertainment
Box Office Earnings: 
Where to find it/How to get it: 
Streaming (Netflix or other online sites)
  • Winner – Fipresci Prize at Cannes Film Festival – 2009  [World premiere]
  • Winner – Best Arabic Film – Cairo International Film Festival – 2009
  • Winner – Best Arabic Screen Play – Cairo International Film Festival - 2009
  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival - 2009
  • Official Selection – New Directors/New Films Opening Night
  • Official Selection  - Cannes Director’s Fortnight
  • Truly Moving Picture Award – Heartland Truly Moving Films
  • Nominated  - Grand Jury Award – Sundance Film Festival – 2009
  • Nominated – Best Film – Gotham Awards