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.

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.

The Filmmakers

David Felix Sutcliffe
Director/Producer/Director of Photography

David Felix Sutcliffe is an emerging filmmaker and teaching artist who has produced and edited a number of short films, including HARD KNOT LIFE, a series of documentary portraits of young people in Harlem, ANONYMOUS, a short experimental film, and the music video WHAT IF? These 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.

Su Kim

Su Kim 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 Conference.

Hugo Perez
Executive Producer

Hugo 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.

Brad Kimbrough

Brad 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.

Chuck Moss
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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