By: Paul Zecharia | www.stonesdetroit.com
Ever heard of Detroit Unleaded? If you’re from Detroit and if you’re Middle Eastern-American, then you should.
Detroit Unleaded is an independent film from native Detroit Rola Nashef, who is both the writer and director. According to Nashef, it is a remake of short film of the same name made in 2007. After being screened at 22 film festivals and receiving 3 awards, Nashef knew this had to be made into a feature because “the audiences wanted more.”
“My ultimate goal is to just be a writer and director,” says Nashef. “I want to direct as much as I can.” Detroit Unleaded first opened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2012. After receiving rave reviews, it was later screened at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival and the 2013 Ashland International Film Festival. Now it’s coming to Detroit for a limited engagement.
The film is about a Lebanese-American man named Sami, who is forced to take over his recently-killed father’s gas station. Sami must now give up going off to college and feels trapped in the gas station. He then meets a girl named Naj and develops feelings for her. Together, they create their own world in the space that they feel confined in.
Nashef’s inspiration for making the film came from her personal experiences hanging out at a gas station as well as several of the stories she had heard from her friends. “The stories were so weird that they felt cinematic,” Nashef says. “I like the idea of a gas station scene as a turnstile. Because Detroit is so segregated, everybody drives. These characters are loosely based on people from my life, and they are so funny and lovable and unique and interesting and smart,” says Nashef. Nashef also hopes that Detroit Unleaded can jumpstart a new trend of seeing Arab Americans in film portrayed in a positive way.
Now where exactly can you view this film? A Red Carpet premiere is being held on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 6:00pm at the Detroit Film Theater. The film will be screened from then till November 19 for a limited time only. All information can be found here on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/484157035016672/
Screening dates and times:
Friday, Nov. 15th 7:00pm followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast
Saturday, Nov. 16th 10:00pm
Sunday, Nov. 17th 7:00pm followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast
Monday, Nov. 18th 7:00pm
Tuesday, Nov. 19th 7:00pm
Where: Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts
Please help spread the word about Detroit Unleaded so more cities will recognize the film and screen it! Also, check out the trailer below!
Check out Paul’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/paulzechariafanpage