Private Project

Redneck Muslim

REDNECK MUSLIM explores the life and work of Shane Atkinson, the first Muslim chaplain in-training at North Carolina’s biggest trauma center and founder of the "Society of Islamic Rednecks.”

A 45-year old, white “good old boy” who converted to Islam in 1999, Shane decided to pursue a new career as a chaplain after his family suffered a devastating loss. In the hospital, he works in a team of inter-faith chaplains to offer services to all patients and their families -- regardless of their religious affiliations.

Recently Shane founded the Society of Islamic Rednecks as a way to celebrate Southern culture while countering stereotypes of Muslims as foreign, and to propose a reformed vision of redneck identity that strips itself of racism and sexism and embraces diversity.

This short documentary film follows Shane with his colleagues and patients, his friends and family, and on a journey to a national gathering of African American Muslim leaders as he seeks their counsel about how to challenge white supremacy. Is his project of reforming the idea of redneck even workable?

REDNECK MUSLIM explores the intersection of American Muslim and Southern cultures, opening an urgently needed cross-cultural inquiry at a time of deep polarization and increasingly strident white nationalism.

  • Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
    Director
    Daisy and Max, Visiting Day, Message To Zaire/The Talk, New Muslim Cool, Paulina
  • Mustafa Davis (co-director)
    Director
    Message To Zaire/The Talk, Dean Tight, The Warm Heart of Africa
  • Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
    Writer
  • Jennifer Maytorena Taylor and Mustafa Davis
    Producer
  • Film Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 20, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Canon C300 and Digital Bolex, HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Cucalorus Film Festival
    Wilmingon, North Carolina
    United States
    November 11, 2017
    World Premiere
  • Minneapolis-St Paul Film Festival
Director Biography - Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Mustafa Davis (co-director)

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor makes colorful, character-based films about real people with extraordinary stories, often with Spanish-language content. Her work has shown at venues like the Sundance, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Locarno Film Festivals, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, New York Museum of Modern Art, PBS, Sundance Channel, and NHK-Japan. Mustafa Davis works as an internationally-recognized photographer, cinematographer, and teacher whose directing credits include "The Warm Heart of Africa," "Prison Blues," and "Deen Tight."

Jennifer and Mustafa recently collaborated on the short film "Message To Zaire," included as part of the "The Talk" anthology film broadcast nationally on PBS in February 2017. They are also collaborating on Jennifer's in-progress feature documentary in-progess "The Gut (working title)" and Mustafa's in-progress documentary project about a young American Muslim leader facing mortality. Both are originally from California.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As long-time friends and collaborators alarmed by the rise of anti-Muslim and racist politics, attitudes and actions in the current atmosphere of increasing polarization, we made "Redneck Muslim" to explore how our realities are always way more complicated than the labels we put on ourselves and others.

We hope "Redneck Muslim" will make people think past the stereotypes that depict all Muslims as foreign and all rural white people as opposed to racial justice, and we hope the film will encourage people to think and talk across the lines that are dividing us.

We think Shane shows some great examples of how he crosses those lines – with more questions than answers – and with sincerity, love, and optimism that we can all be better people

--- Jennifer Maytorena Taylor and Mustafa Davis