17th Chicago Underground Film Festival

3:00pm Theater One Saturday, June 26 AMERICAN JIHADIST-LAY CLAIM TO AN ISLAND

Repeats June 29 6pm

LAY CLAIM TO AN ISLAND
Chris Kennedy, 13 min, 16mm, 2009, Canada

Texts from the 1969 American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz and letters from supporters propel an exploration of political yearning, emancipatory architecture and failed utopias. What does it mean to claim land that has more value as a symbol than as a potential home? And how does that symbol function beyond the boundaries of its geographic limits? (CK)

AMERICAN JIHADIST
Mark Claywell,, 68 min, video, USA, 2010

What creates the mindset of a militant Islamist, especially one born and raised in the United States? AMERICAN JIHADIST examines the social, economic, and political circumstances that led Isa Abdullah Ali, aka Clevin Raphael Holt, from the ghettos of Washington, D.C., to convert to Islam as a teenager, fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan and alongside the Shiites in Lebanon, and become labeled a “known terrorist” by the U.S. Defense Department despite never being charged with a crime. AMERICAN JIHADIST looks at the role that violence and a lack of hope for the future play in the development of radicalism, going beyond simple characterizations to uncover the complex psychological factors that led Ali to take up arms in the name of his religion. DigiBeta video. (Bryan Wendorf)