New York, N.Y. — September 14, 2022 — POV, currently celebrating its 35th anniversary season as America’s longest running non-fiction series, unveils a counter-narrative of the last 30 years of Muslim life in America in the documentary, An Act of Worship, directed by Pakistani-American director Nausheen Dadabhoy. The film is produced by DuPont-Crichton Award-winner Heba Elorbany, Emmy® Award-winner Kristi Jacobson, and Emmy-nominated Sofian Khan. An Act of Worship will make its national broadcast premiere on Monday, October 17, 2022 on POV (check local listings) and will be available to stream free until November 16, 2022 at pbs.org, and the PBS Video app. In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.
In An Act of Worship, Dadabhoy introduces the audience to a diverse range of Muslim Americans as they recount the past 30 years of pivotal moments in U.S. history and policy from their own perspectives. The film weaves together observational footage of activists who came of age after 9/11, community-sourced home videos, and evocative recollections from individuals impacted by incidents of Islamophobia. The filmmaking team’s first-hand knowledge and intimate access to the Muslim community, allows the participants to present honest accounts of their experiences, told in their own words.
An Act of Worship made its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.
POV Executive Producer Chris White said: “Racist narratives peddled for political expediency have compounded harm in American communities over generations. Only through a willingness to engage with more authentic portrayals, voiced by community members themselves, can we set a more just path. An Act of Worship exemplifies this approach in the most astoundingly beautiful way and we are proud to have it as a part of our 35th season on PBS.”
“We’re incredibly excited to be in partnership with POV, where personal storytelling from within marginalized communities is so clearly valued, along with an openness to pushing the documentary form beyond traditional approaches. It’s a unique opportunity to reach a nationwide audience who look to the series for those qualities and more, and a chance to share the experience of Muslim Americans directly and authentically, without apology,” said An Act of Worship producer Sofian Khan.
An Act of Worship is a co-presentation of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and American Documentary | POV, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy and produced by Heba Elorbany, Kristi Jacobson and Sofian Khan. The executive producers are Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV and The Meadows Foundation.
Director/Producer: Nausheen Dadabhoy
Producers: Heba Elorbany, Kristi Jacobson, Sofian Khan
Executive Producers: Erika Dilday, Chris White, The Meadows Foundation
Editor: Ben Garchar
Mentor: Jonathan Duffy
Composer: Mary Kouyoumdjian
Download An Act of Worship photos here.
About the Filmmakers
Nausheen Dadabhoy, Director, An Act of Worship
Nausheen Dadabhoy is a Pakistani-American director and cinematographer whose work spans fiction and documentary. As a cinematographer she has lensed an Oscar® nominated live action short film and an Emmy® winning feature documentary. Her films have screened at festivals worldwide including Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca, Locarno and have appeared on Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu. The Ground beneath Their Feet (2014) — her directorial debut following two Pakistani women who were paralyzed after an earthquake — premiered at IDFA in the first appearance competition. Her second feature, An Act of Worship premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (2022). Nausheen has been a Film Independent Project:Involve Fellow, Berlin Talents participant, Firelight Fellow, Chicken & Egg Eggcelerator Lab Fellow, newportFILM Documentary Cinematography Fellow, Soros Equality Fellow and she is currently a Pillars Artist Fellow. She was part of DOCNYC’s inaugural “40 Under 40.” Nausheen is based in NYC, LA and Karachi, Pakistan. She received her MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute. Follow Nausheen (@naushero) on Twitter and Instagram.
Heba Elorbany, Producer, An Act of Worship
Heba Elorbany is an Egyptian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her first documentary film, Lifehouse (2017), earned her a DuPont-Crichton Award. She was a researcher and assistant editor on Oscar-nominated short documentary film St. Louis Superman and has collaborated with award-winning directors, including Lana Wilson (The Departure, After Tiller) and Smriti Mundhra (A Suitable Girl). In addition to making documentary films, she produces audio stories and live shows. She’s worked on productions for The New York Times, Viacom, BBC, Gimlet Media, PRX, Radio Ambulante and more. Heba earned her master’s degree in 2017 from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and is currently a senior producer atThe Los Angeles Times.
Kristi Jacobson, Producer, An Act of Worship
Kristi Jacobson is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. Her films include Solitary HBO), which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary, the critically acclaimed Toots (Tribeca Film Festival), and A Place at the Table (2012 Sundance Film Festival). Her episodic work includes Dirty Money: Cartel Bank (Netflix Original), Dogs: The Protectors (Netflix Originals), and Through Our Eyes: Homefront (HBO/Max and Sesame Workshop) and the short film “I Am Not Going To Change 400 Years in Four”, co-directed with Angela Tucker (ITVS/ Independent Lens). She is a member of AMPAS, the Directors Guild of America, and has received grant support and/or fellowships from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures.
Sofian Khan, Producer, An Act of Worship
Sofian Khan is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of Capital K Pictures. He directed, produced and shot The Interpreters, a feature-length documentary following Afghan and Iraqi interpreters targeted for their work helping American forces that made its broadcast premiere on the 2019 season of Independent Lens. His episode of the PBS American Masters series In the Making (2021) received a Webby Award and an NAACP Image nomination. Most recently, Sofian directed an episode of the new series Takeout With Lisa Ling (2022) on HBOMax, and is currently in production on several new projects under the Capital K Pictures banner.
Aber Kawas, Impact Producer & Participant, An Act of Worship
Aber Kawas is a Palestinian American community organizer from Brooklyn New York. She has been working with the Arab and Muslim communities in New York City around policy issues such as immigration reform, unlawful policing and surveillance, as well as advocating against Islamophobia. Aber served as the NYC Advocacy Specialist with the Campaign to Take on Hate under the National Network of Arab American communities, transitioning from her position as Advocacy Director at the Arab American Association of NY. Currently, she has relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa to complete an MA focused on Islamic Liberation Theology.
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. The series is known for introducing generations of viewers to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, American Promise and Minding The Gap and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Laura Poitras and Nanfu Wang. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. All POV programs are available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
POV goes “beyond the broadcast” to bring powerful nonfiction storytelling to viewers wherever they are. Free educational resources accompany every film and a community network of thousands of partners nationwide work with POV to spark dialogue around today’s most pressing issues. POV continues to explore the future of documentary through innovative productions with partners such as The New York Times and The National Film Board of Canada and on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram.
POV films and projects have won 45 Emmy Awards, 27 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on social media.
About American Documentary, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, the Open Society Foundations, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Park Foundation, and Perspective Fund. Additional funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Sage Foundation, Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Abby Pucker, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.