Hamtramck, Michigan is a city built by immigrants. The city thrived thanks to Polish Catholic immigrants drawn to the industrial boom of America. In the late 1990's, Bangladeshi and Yemeni Muslim immigrants revitalized this post-industrial city. This multi-ethnic city prides itself on its mantra "The World in 2 Square Miles," boasts about the over 30 languages spoken in the schools and the diversity that comes with it.
However, when it comes to the city's politics, the city quickly splits into factions, pitting communities against each other. From these tensions, candidates emerge, hoping to be the voice for their community in City Hall. Karen Majewski, Hamtramck’s first female mayor in the city’s 100 year lineage of Polish mayors, is seeking her fourth term as mayor. She promises to run until she "sees someone capable" of running the city.
Kamal Rahman, a community activist leading a grassroots political movement, kicks off his campaign with promises such as lowering water bills and free college tuition.
Challenging both Karen and Kamal, Councilmember Mohammad Hassan served 8 years on city council and is well established within Bangladeshi politics in the US and back home.
Fadel is the youngest candidate running. At 23 and just about the only Iraqi family he knows of in the city, Fadel is an outsider. However, he is infinitely charming and sincere. He quickly gains supporters, not because of a shared ethnicity or home country, but because of his vision for a better Hamtramck. Along the way, Abraham Aiyash, a young Yemeni community activists who grew up with him, helps guide Fadel through the election process; reminding him who he is and what he represents.
Through the election cycle, candidate's face challenges and opportunities within each community, including their own. Through the exploration of the city's rich history and this heated election, Hamtramck, USA wrestles with identity politics, power dynamics, and the immigrant experience in America.
Director & Producer: Razi Jafri
Director & Producer: Justin Feltman
Editor: Luther Clement
Executive Producer: Dough Blush
Composer: Colleen Burke
Cast: Abraham Aiyash, Fadel Almarsoumi, Karen Majewski, and Kamal "Asm" Rahman
Awards & Nominations
Official Selection - DOC NYC, 2020
Official Selection 2020- 2021 - American Film Showcase
Official Selection - Freep Film Festival, 2021
Official Selection - DOXA Documentary Film Festival, 2020
Official Selection - Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, 202
Official Selection - Flayetteville Film Fest, 2020
Official Selection - CAAMFEST FORWARD, 2020
Official Selection - ESSEX DocFest, 2020
Official Selection - Muslim Film Festival, 2020
The Spool - SXSW: “Hamtramck, USA” Tests the Great American Melting Pot
The film can be accessed online via Projectr (rent or by option)
We believe in the power of film to open up opportunities for dialogue and community reflection. Our online film recommendations can be watched at home at the comfort of your sofa.
We’ve designed post-screening discussion guides for all films, to be used as a starting point for conversations inspired by our Moving Worlds programme.
Copyright © 2021 Moving Worlds - All Rights Reserved.