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Daily Helping for August 18th, 2021 – American Eid

A photo still from American Eid. Lead actress Shanessa Khawaja is sitting at a desk in a classroom, hands folded in front of her, looking straight ahead just above the camera.

And my journey with the Disney Launchpad collection comes to an end. At least, for now. A second season is already in production, so I can’t wait to see what the next slate of writer/directors create. But today, we have the last film of the current collection, American Eid, written and directed by Aqsa Altaf. And it is absolutely wonderful.

American Eid tells the story of Ameena, a young Pakistani girl who has immigrated to the United States with her family. When she discovers that she has to go to school on Eid, a Muslim religious holiday, she starts a campaign to have Eid declared a school holiday. The film also has a lot to say about what it means to be an immigrant and the balancing act of remaining true to your roots while also assimilating into your new home. As an immigrant myself, let’s just say that I can relate.

To be clear, my immigration experience was very different from Ameena’s. I immigrated from one western country to another, so the culture shock was not nearly as severe as what others often experience. But it was still there. And I loved how this film portrayed the many different ways that this can manifest. That feeling of being slightly out of step with those around you. Of not knowing the subtle cultural nuances that are second nature to others. I especially loved the contrast between how Ameena and her older sister choose to navigate their new lives, and how their relationship evolves as a result. Everyone reacts to change differently, but that doesn’t make that process any less valid.

All in all, this was a delightful film anchored by a fantastic performance by Shanessa Khawaja as Ameena. I dare anyone with a heart to not be rooting for her by the end.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!