On March 24th, 2005, Adama Bah, a 16-year-old Muslim girl, awakes at dawn to discover nearly a dozen armed agents from the FBI inside her family’s apartment in East Harlem. They arrest her and her father, Mamadou Bah, and transport them to separate detention facilities. A government document leaked to the press claims Adama is a “potential suicide bomber” but fails to provide any evidence to support this claim.
After six weeks of public protest and media scrutiny Adama is released from detention while her father remains in a New Jersey jail for immigration violations.
The government refuses to present any evidence to justify Adama’s arrest, and no terrorist charges have ever been brought against her. Since her release, Adama has been forced to live under partial house arrest with an ankle bracelet, a government-enforced curfew, and a court-issued gag-order that prohibits her from speaking about her case, her arrest, and her six-week detention. In August of 2006, Adama’s father was deported. Adama, who traveled to the US with her parents from Guinea, Africa when she was only two years old, is now also facing deportation, and is pleading for political asylum from Guinea’s deep-rooted practice of female genital mutilation, a practice that has marked many of the women in her family, including her mother.
WHY ADAMA presents an intimate verite portrait of one Muslim-American family whose lives have been dramatically altered by the U.S. government’s immigration and counter-terrorism policies. The film follows amongst others, Mike German, a former FBI terrorism investigator who left the agency in protest after 9/11, as well as Mauri Saalakhan, a grassroots Muslim activist who has become one of Adama's primary advocates. As Adama awaits the outcome of her asylum petition, the film moves between an exploration of her and her family’s struggle to stay together, and the individual efforts of Mr. German and Mr. Saalakhan to confront, and change, the policies that have threatened to completely dismantle Adama’s life.
David Felix Sutcliffe
Director/Producer/Director of Photography
Felix Sutcliffe is an emerging filmmaker and teaching
artist who has produced and edited a number of short films,
including HARD KNOT LIFE,
of documentary portraits of young people in Harlem,
experimental film, and the music video WHAT IF?
films have been screened at the Woodstock Film Festival,
the Hampton’s International Film Festival, the
Washington DC Independent Film Festival, among others. He
has been honored by the National Scholastic Art and Writing
awards for his work as a media educator, and has received
artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He
is a member of Flux Factory, a Queens-based artist
collective, and has exhibited sound tours, films and
performance pieces at the Dumbo Arts Festival, the Conflux
Festival, PS 122, and Grand Central Terminal.
WHY ADAMA is his
first full-length film.
worked on films by Anne Makepeace, Aviva Slesin, Alice
Elliott, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker. Most recently
she worked with Cactus Three on DOUBLTIME, a Discovery
Films project directed by Stephanie Johnes and BE LIKE
OTHERS an ITVS International/BBC project directed by Tanaz
Eshaghian, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film
Festival. She is currently associate producing Summer Sun
Winter Moon an ITVS project directed by Hugo Perez about
the creation of a symphony inspired by the Lewis and Clark
Expedition. Ms Kim attended the eighth annual CPB/PBS
Producers Workshop held at WGBH in Boston and the 2008
Sundance Institute’s Independent Producers
Perez is the Producer and Director of the ITVS funded
documentary SUMMER SUN WINTER MOON as well as NEITHER
MEMORY NOR MAGIC, which recently premiered at the Full
Frame Film Festival. Both films have been selections,
respectively, of the 2006 and 2007 IFP Markets, and Perez
both years has been a nominee for the IFP/Fledgling Fund
Emerging Latino Filmmaker Award. Perez has also produced
and directed two short documentaries in Cuba: THE ECTASY
and THE OLD MAN and HEMINGWAY the latter of which has
received numerous awards at film festivals in 2004 and was
selected as one of nine ‘Outstanding Short
Films’ for 2004-2005 by the Museum of Modern Art. His
writing has been featured in the New York Times Magazine
and Salon, and his films have screened at venues such as
MoMA and the Smithsonian Institution.
Kimbrough began his career as an assistant editor and
colorist with Scout Productions, and has since worked with
a number of notable editors such as Mary Lampson, Nancy
Baker, Li-Shin Yu, and Jean Tsien. He was an assistant
editor on THE LORD GOD BIRD and ONE HEARTBEAT (dir. George
Butler), RAIN IN A DRY LAND (dir. Anne Makepeace), selected
for POV’s 2007 season, and TROUBLE THE WATER (dirs.
Tia Lessin and Carl Deal) which won Best Documentary at the
2008 Sundance Festival. In 2007, he was invited to
participate in the Sundance Institute's acclaimed
Documentary Film Editing and Story Lab.
Director of Photography
Chuck Moss is a cinematographer and photographer whose work has appeared on PBS, BBC, VH1, MTV, Outdoor Life Network, and others. Most recently, his work as the primary DP helped create the look of the popular History Detective series on PBS. His corporate clients include Discovery Communications, Goldman Sachs, and Seton Hall University for whom he has also shot a series of commercials. Moss has served as DP on the award-winning feature film The New Guy, as well as the short documentary ‘The Old Man and Hemingway’ which was designated by MoMA an outstanding short film in 2005.
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