I am: Muslim/American
Jun 07 – Jun 20, 2023
Multiple Locations, see below
New Haven Play Project
Performance created in partnership. Celebrating the stories of New Haven.
Since 2018, Long Wharf Theatre has collaborated with a variety of community partners to bring the stories of our New Haven neighbors to life on stage. Join us for this year’s project!
Starting in 2021, Miller and Flynn interviewed Muslim Americans in Connecticut to capture the multitude of their experiences. These interviews were then reimagined into a screenplay and filmed with local actors over the course of two weekends at locations across New Haven. The film making process and the film itself centered and nurtured connections between Muslim and non-Muslim community members to increase understanding and camaraderie. Join the conversation.
Upcoming Film Screenings and Discussions:
Wednesday, June 7 @ 6 PM
Stetson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library
197 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven
Conversation following the film moderated by Imam Lyle Hasan,
Imam of the Al-Aziz Islamic Center of Bridgeport
Free and open to the public.
Friday, June 9 @ 7 PM
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT
Co-hosted by PARJE, Public Art for Racial Justice Education
Conversation following the film moderated by Ghoufran Allababidi, President of Tree of Life
Free and open to the public.
Sunday, June 11 @ 4PM
(Doors open at 3:30PM. Enter on Church Street.)
Whitney Humanities Center
53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT (corner of Wall and Church Streets)
In partnership with Whitney Humanities Center
Brief Q&A following the film moderated Rachel Alderman, Associate Artistic Director, Long Wharf Theatre
Free and open to the public. Limited seating available. RSVP required.
Monday, June 19 @ 4PM
Artsucation™ Academy Network’s 6th New Haven Hip Hop Conference at
Neighborhood Music School
100 Audubon Street, New Haven
Program made possible by the City of New Haven Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Neighborhood Cultural Vitality Grant Program
Panel discussion following the film with Halima Flynn, Mama Iman Uqdah Hameen, & Christopher “The Real Frii” Elliott. Moderated by Dr. Hanan Hameen-Diop
Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, June 20 @ 6:30PM
Berlin Mosque – Islamic Association of Greater Hartford
1781 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin CT
Q & A following the film moderated by Ghoufran Allababidi, President of Tree of Life
Free and open to the public.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Life is too short. Maximize your potential for the greatest impact.”
Aaliyah Miller is a storyteller and a lifelong artist. She believes in the power of words and uses them as her superpower to help drive change for individuals and organizations. Writing keeps her connected to her creative side and gives her an outlet to engage and share with others.
For more than 25 years, she has helped individuals and public and private organizations effectively tell their stories. During the day, you’ll find her supporting the communications and marketing efforts for the Capitol Region Council of Government (CRCOG).
She is an award-winning screenwriter. Her short film After the Headlines was an official selection for the Litchfield Hills Film Festival (formally Kent Film Festival), the Action on Film International Film Festival and other regional film festivals. The screenplay also won several screenwriting awards. She has a Master of Arts degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University.
She remains active in her community as chair of the chair of the board of directors for the nonprofit organization Heads Up! Hartford, a member of First Choice Health Community Centers’ advocacy committee, and a member of East Hartford’s 7th District Democrats.
While she works on her dream, she juggles raising twins Akilah and Zak. She does her best to balance her career, creative endeavors, and community engagement efforts. She believes in making time for life’s simple pleasures. They include cooking, dancing, reading, traveling, watching films, writing scripts, walking Billy (the family dog), and spending quality time with family and friends.
Halima Flynn holds her Master of Arts in Directing from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is an artist-activist who believes that theatre has the capacity to transform society. To do this, she creates theatre in collaboration, where even the audience is a member of the company. She enjoys challenging conventions and invites audiences on a journey to question our individual and collective roles. Committed to ongoing theatrical exploration to generate new works, she is currently working on developing ProduceHERS, an initiative to build opportunities and audiences for BIPOC women.
Her directorial credits include: Testify, Real Stories, Real People at Bregamos Theater in New Haven, a new adaptation of Euripides’ Medea at The Brockley Jack Pub Theatre in London, England; Wallace Shawn’s Designated Mourner; and the liturgical drama, Everyman. She also served as Assistant Director on Mark Masterson’s production of The Tempest at the Actor’s Theater of Louisville.
Her first film, I am Muslim. I am American, was released in 2023 with generous funding from the Doris Duke Foundation’s “Building Bridges” grant in partnership with Long Wharf Theatre.
Active in her community, she considers connection and collaboration as necessary to life as breathing. In her downtime, she enjoys RPG videogames and anime centered around myth and heroism. A music lover and dancer you can be sure to find her on the dance floor whenever house music starts playing (for as long as her body allows her)!
Andre GriffithDirector of Photography
Andre “Crazy One” Griffith started in entertainment as the host of The C1 Radio Show on 88.7 FM WNHU, Gaining industry attention and a presence internationally for playing exclusive music and hits, The C1 Radio Show introduced artists to his listeners through groundbreaking interviews, phone crashes and the Takeover series with guests. He is a multi-time Stellar Award Gospel Announcer of the Year Nominee and Internet Radio Station of the Year Nominee.
In 2004, Andre founded Crazy One Productions, a graphic design company with a focus on creating affordable promotion materials for independent artists looking for a “Major Label” look. Later, Crazy One Productions expanded its services while simplifying the name to C1 Media. The new look multi-media entertainment production company put a focus on creating platforms for overshadowed artist by creating online shows like The Zone, a guest heavy inspirational Hip Hop show that gained the attention of major record labels. Through this medium Griffith was able to shine a light on underseen talent by mixing them in with bigger names and an expanded audience. The Zone allowed access to live appearances and red carpet access to some of the industry’s biggest events and award shows.
Film production has now become the focus of C1 Media. Recent credits include the short film ‘The Promotion’ on Amazon Prime, which won the Independent Shorts Award for Best Drama Short (2020), Best Acting Duo award and IMDB honorable mention for Best first-time director at the International Film Festival, LA, 2020. His short ‘Cleared’ (2022) won Best Drama at the Paris Film awards and New York Movie Awards. C1 Media specializes in creating commercials, films, and promotional videos catering to a worldwide audience. Other credits include “Theatre Hoppers”, a movie review show, commercials for companies such as GAT Sport, TigerLyfe Energy Drink, promotional videos for WNBA, Motown Gospel, RCA Records. Pre-fight interviews for UFC Fight Pass, Music Videos for MNRK Music, and live theater filming production for David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.
Maher MahmoodDP Assistant // Sound Operator
Maher is a photographer/videographer/public speaker. He was given his first camera at the age of thirteen when he still lived in his home country of Iraq.
This was a time of war in his country and he learned that he could use photography as a way to tell his story and the stories of those around him. Since then, photography/videography has been his passion. In 2014, he was welcomed into the United States and New Haven, Connecticut became his new home. For the past eight years, He has had the privilege of helping people capture the moments most important to them including graduations, weddings, and the growth of their families.
He is grateful for the opportunities he had to learn from fellow artists from around the world, as well as his former colleagues at American organizations such as Google and Yale, for helping him grow his passion for photography and film and marketing skills. Photography and video will forever be his passion and my purpose.
Bushra MahdiCostume Design
I was born in Bagdad, Iraq, and lived there until 2012, when the situation became so dangerous that my family and I were forced to leave. First, we moved to Jordan. Then, in 2014, my family and I were given refugee status in the United States and were relocated to New Haven, Connecticut. Since arriving in the United States, I have spent my time volunteering at Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), and I continue to develop my skills in design and exhibit my works. I got my passion for sowing from my mom. When I was 13 years old, I wanted to help young girls like me in the neighborhood who couldn’t afford buying dresses. So, I challenged myself and created my first original dress. I couldn’t believe it, but soon young people were coming to me for their dresses. I continued to support my community when sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1991 by making clothes for people when material were no longer able to be imported into the country. When I came to the U.S., I saw that women with hijab were having difficulty finding elegant clothing. So, I started designing dresses that were appropriate for these women, yet stylish and sophisticated. I’m an innovative fashion designer with 37 years of experience, specializing in women’s clothing and contemporary fashion. I have a proven track record of defining brand aesthetics for high-quality wedding dresses, evening gowns and casual wear. My design goal now is to fuse American and Iraqi fashion to create something unique and beautiful.
UptownWorks – Bailey TrierweilerSound Editing
Bailey Trierweiler (they/them) is a non-binary, East Coast based sound designer, engineer and artist. Bailey works as a Sound Associate with UptownWorks NYC and they are most interested in uplifting marginalized voices and engaging community through thoughtful collaboration and various forms of media. BFA from University of Colorado Boulder, MFA Candidate at Yale School of Drama.
UptownWorks – Daniela HartSound Editing
Daniela Hart (she/they) (Sound Designer) is a New York City based sound designer and composer with an MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama. Selected theater credits include Choir Boy (Yale Rep); First Down (59e59); Fires In The Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage & Long Wharf Theater); Night Watch (Dorset Theater); Pleasure Machine (Colt Coeur); Vapor Trail (MIT Music & Theater Arts); Cadence Podcast (Season 3); The Masses Are Asses (Weslyan Unviersity); How to Save the World in 90 Minutes (Cherry Lane); Mr. Burns (Iseman Theater, Yale); Avital (Yale Cabaret); References to Salvador Dali…(ART, Harvard); Julius Caesar, Romeo & Juliet (Vermont Shakespeare); Neighborhood 3, Must Wash Hands (Rattlestick Theater); The Parlour (Soho Rep). Daniela is also a producer, editor and sound supervisor with her company www.UptownWorksNYC.com.
UptownWorks – Noel NicholsSound Editing
Noel Nichols (they/she) (Sound Designer) is a regional Sound Designer and Engineer from Phoenix, Arizona. Select design credits with UptownWorks include Today is My Birthday, Choir Boy (Yale Repertory Theatre) First Down (Noor Theatre), already there (Kennedy Center), Fires in the Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage & Long Wharf Theatre), Nightwatch (Dorset Theatre Festival) and The Masses are Asses (Wesleyan CFA). Other design credits include Fun Home (Yale School of Drama), Media Clown (University of Iowa) Tomás and the Library Lady, Memory House (Lake Dillon Theatre Co.) Latinos Who Look Like Ricky Martin (Verano Cabaret), Counting Pebbles (Faultline Ensemble). MFA in Sound Design from Yale School of Drama. NoelNicholsDesign.com
UptownWorks (Sound Design and Post Production) UptownWorks Sound is a dynamic team of designers that creates collaboratively for theatre, film, podcasts, music production and other media. Select sound design and post production highlights include BBoy Blues (Supermassive Prod, BET+), CRAM (Rad Rhino Pictures); Avaaz (South Coast Rep); Singularity Play (HarvardTDM); Black Odyssey (Classic Stage); Chicken & Biscuits (Asolo Rep); Espejos:Clean (Hartford Stage/Syracuse Stage); Which Way To The Stage (Signature DC); the ripple, the wave…(Berkeley Rep/Goodman); Complicity Island (Audible); Blues Clues & You! (Round Room Live); Happy Life (The Hearth); Queen (Long Wharf Theater/A.R.T.NY); Choir Boy and Today is my Birthday (Yale Rep); Fires in the Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage/Long Wharf Theatre), already there (The REACH at the Kennedy Center) First Down (59E59); Pleasure Machine (Colt Coeur), Sidewalk Echoes (En Garde Arts). Daniela, Noel & Bailey received their MFAs in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama.
Christopher “The Real Frii” ElliottRafi
Eddie Cruz Jr.Jay
John WatsonFather Pat
Addys CastilloJasmine’s Mom
Zakiyyah HasanRafi’s Mom
Pranav DevMale Fitness Trainer
Marvin PendarvisRafi’s Friend
Hanan HameenExecutive Assistant
Griffin KulpWhite Male at Restaurant
Karim HadjsalemJasmine’s Husband
Christopher LeakBasketball Player #1
Jordan GrantBasketball Player #2
Dale “Don” QuijadaBasketball Player #3
Justin MooreBasketball Player #4
Cassius ChaneyBasketball Player #5
Halima FlynnSecurity Guard
Vanessa SotoStranger #1
Rachel AldermanStranger #1
The film was inspired by interviews with the following Connecticut residents
NOORA BROWN Born and raised in Ct. Noora accepted Islam in college in 1993. She graduated from Hartford International University (formerly Hartford Seminary) with a Masters in Islam and Christian/Muslim Relations in 1997. She and her husband founded the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. in Avon, Ct in 2013. Noora currently works as a Professional Realtor with Coldwell Banker and helps families to relocate to the Farmington Valley area. She was happy to share her story with NHPP program.
Faten Chouchen-Hadjsalem – Faten is a stay-at-home mom of three children. She’s originally from Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia, and lives in Stafford Springs. She volunteers as a Sunday School teacher with Islamic Center at UConn’s Sunday School. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling back to Tunisia.
Nour Hadj Salem
Nour Hadjsalem – Nour is a 13-year-old honor student at Stafford Middle School. She was one of 40 students participating in the 2023 Connecticut Spelling Bee. Outside school, she enjoys reading, playing video games, visiting her niece and nephew, and watching movies.
Salem Hadj Salem
Salem Hadj Salem – Salem is a Stafford Springs resident and retired Imam chaplain from Connecticut’s Department of Corrections. He worked with the state for 20 years. He is married to Faten Chouchen-Hadjsalem and is the proud father of six children. He loves farming, spending time with his family, and volunteering at the Islamic Center at UConn’s Sunday School.
Dr. Hanan Hameen-Diop is an Arts, Education, and Curriculum Specialist, dancer, choreographer, author, arts organization founder, advocate for youth Lupus and social justice, Lupus warrior, and overall phenomenal woman. Throughout her extensive dance career of over 30 years, Dr. Hanan has choreographed for both major and independent recording artists, and taught at several public schools, colleges and universities throughout the tri-state area and abroad. Dr. Hanan is the founder of the Artsucation™ Academy Network, Ms. Hanan’s Dance and Beyond, Keepers of the Culture Performing Arts Company, New Haven Hip Hop Conference, the Official Juneteenth Coalition of Greater New Haven, the annual Juneteenth Celebration with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven African Arts Alliance, and is the Artistic Director of the DanceAfrica Candle Bearers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music DanceAfrica Festival. While battling Lupus, she provides Artsucational programming for the community within New Haven and throughout the African Diaspora through Artsucation™ Cultural Exchange programs in New Haven, Senegal, and South Africa as the creator of Artsucation™curriculum and Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange Alumni.
Jesse Hameen II
Zakiyyah ‘Dorothy’ Shareef Hasan was born to Harold and Martha Shabazz (Peters) and raised in New Haven Connecticut she was the third child of eight children.
Islam in Connecticut started in her family’s home in the late fifties. Being brought up as a Muslim Zakiyyah practice the Islamic faith and raised her six children in the same way and that is To Love and fear G-d and to respect all people. Zakiyyah was a stay-at-home mom and went back to school when the last child reached the age of eight years old.
he earned an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Gateway Community College and received credit toward her B.S. in Education Administration. She retired as a full time pre-School Head Teacher and assistance to the Director of Young Hearts Daycare in Hamden.
Zakiyyah is a member of the AMKH Islamic Center. She serves as the Principal of the Clara Muhammad School (CMS) and Director of the Arabic Language Dept. Zakiyyah works in the Treasury Dept. at the AMKH Islamic Center and has held this position since 1959. Zakiyyah was the past Treasurer for CMS Northeast Sectional Committee and Convener for the CMS State Department Education.
Zakiyyah is currently The International League of Muslim Women, Inc. Treasurer for the New England Chapter for 10 years and is the Treasure for several committee.
Zakiyyah is the widow of the Beloved Imam, Dr. Abdul-Majid Karim Hasan and has grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Zakiyyah gives Praise and Thanks to Almighty G-d Allah for the family she was bless to be raised in and for the life she has today.
Mariam Fathima Mohamed
I was born in India and brought up in Connecticut. I am a Data Scientist working in the field for the past 3 years and graduated from University of Connecticut in 2018. I love to travel and explore new places, enjoy trying new food and try to paint whenever I get the chance!
I am a junior at the University of Connecticut studying to be a Mechanical Engineer. While I enjoy math and science, I am also a calligraphy artist. I am also into fitness and sports. I always try to catch a soccer or basketball game whenever I can!
I’m a motorcoach bus driver from Connecticut. I’m a mom of a high functioning autistic senior in high school. I became Muslim last September and have found myself having a hard time adapting. Spirituality and having a relationship with Allah is important to me and I work hard to educate myself to increase my connection with Him.