In An Act of Worship Pakistani-American filmmaker Nausheen Dadabhoy weaves a glorious tapestry of personal stories, verite, archival footage, and home movies together, to open a window into the world of Muslim Americans. Due to their first-hand knowledge and intimate access to the Muslim community, the filmmaking team is able to take charge of the account, which has previously been shaped by outsiders.
The film follows three women activists who have come of age since 9/11 and who are part of a new generation of Muslims in America. One is a community organizer of a sanctuary city initiative in New York, another is a young hijab-wearing activist in Michigan learning how to overcome society’s expectations of her, and the third is a California lawyer advocating for her community while balancing motherhood. Interwoven with each woman’s tale is a historical timeline that takes a look back at pivotal moments affecting Muslim community, From the Boston Bombing to the Muslim Ban, the film’s chronicle explores the collective memory of the community through a lyrical combination of home videos and re-told stories. The portrait the film creates shows a community that has undergone enormous change as it emerges from the shadows to shape its own narrative and resist further marginalization. —Deborah Rudolph
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Nausheen Dadabhoy is a director and cinematographer whose work spans fiction and documentary. She lensed an Academy Award® nominated film, an Emmy® winning documentary, and films that have played at Sundance, TIFF, Locarno and on Al Jazeera, HBO, PBS. Her directorial debut The Ground Beneth Their Feet premiered at IDFA.