Awardee: Usama Alshaibi

Moving Image, 2005

Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and spent his formative years living between the United States and the Middle East. His work in film and video has been screened at numerous film festivals and venues across the globe. In early 2004 Usama and his wife returned to Iraq to shoot his first feature documentary titled _Nice Bombs_. Usama has completed one narrative feature titled _Muhammad and Jane_, and more than thirty short films that are on various International DVD compilations. He has also produced and directed music videos for a variety of musicians and record labels. Usama was the founder and director of the notorious Chicago based Z Film Festival from 2000 to 2005. In addition to reaching an eclectic audience with his film work, Alshaibi's photography and art have been included in various gallery exhibitions and web publications. Feature articles have been written about his work in such places as the _Chicago Tribune_, _Time Out_, and _Variety_. Alshaibi is the recipient of a generous Playboy Foundation Award, as well as the winner of the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access in New York City.

Project: Nice Bombs

_Nice Bombs_ chronicles a return visit by the filmmaker and his father to their homeland of Iraq after living in exile in the United States for 24 years. In January 2004, the two traveled from Chicago to Baghdad, interviewing family members, friends and former neighbors for this film. The finished work is an examination of the filmmaker's place in Iraq after being away and the voices, gestures and faces of his Iraqi family and friends. Inspired by writer Studs Terkel, filmmaker Robb Moss and Internet diarist Salaam Pax, _Nice Bombs_ is diaristic, a home-movie that expresses the culture, customs and complex politics of Iraqis in a post-Saddam era, with the United States occupation in the background.