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Muslim American Film Hala To Be Featured in 2019 Sundance Film Festival

HalaWhile many are holding onto the memories and experiences of 2018 as the year comes to a close, for others, 2019 cannot come any sooner-specially for rising film artists such as Yale graduate Minhal Baig. Just 4 days ago, the Sundance Film Festival announced Baig’s debut film Hala would be part of  its 2019 feature line up. From the perspective of a young Muslim American woman, the story revolves around a teenager’s struggle to navigate the trials and tribulations of everyday life. In an interview with Brown Girl, Baig discussed the importance of inclusivity when capturing all American experiences, especially from minority populations who have not been fully represented in the media.

In order to create this shift within the film industry, Baig knew she had to begin her career by showcasing her own experiences. Because of the difference of family values and upbringing between her own childhood and what was presented to her on television, she stated at one point in the interview that “One of the things that I found was the parents on television were interested in the emotional worlds of their children. I just found that so bizarre because my parents never lend themselves to questions that would let them know what’s going on in my internal world. That’s just not something that we discussed ever. To see that in movies and television, it was like, ‘Wow, is this a movie parent?’”. However, to her surprise, many of her friends actually were living like families she saw on screen. While not the only reason, this realization helped spark the push for Baig  to write Hala and provide to the global audience her unique voice . Minhal Baig

According to Variety, women made up 65 percent of those working on the film, including upcoming Australian Indian star Geraldine Viswanathan.

The story takes place in a suburb of Chicago. Baig (photo from Twitter) described her story during an interview with Go Into the Story as an “intimate portrait of a girl becoming a woman.”

More importantly, it expands the public’s perception of the American experience

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