El Mahal (2019)

Jamal, a young Palestinian-American, longs for his missing father on his 18th birthday. Trapped in the family convenience store, he must endure his overbearing uncle who carries a vital family secret.

Taita Samia, Jamal’s kind-hearted grandmother, keeps the peace between her son Soheil and grandson Jamal as tensions between the two rise. Soheil, overcome with memories of nostalgia for his native Palestine and the burden of a vital family secret, discovers that money is missing from the register. When Taita Samia leaves for the night, emotions boil over. Painted against a backdrop of exile and immigration, "El Mahal" is the story of the life of Palestinian-Americans.

  • Ziad Foty
  • Ziad Foty
  • Lisa Thrasher
    Nitty Gritty Behind the Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)
  • Lisa Thrasher
    "Bini" (2018, Student Oscar Award Nominee,) "The Pick Up" (2018,) "Girltrash: All Night Long" (2014,) "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" (2007,Best Narrative Feature Jury Award SXSW, Teddy Award Nominee Berlinale,) "Billy's Dad is a Fudge-Packer" (2005, Sundance Premiere) "Little Black Boot" (2004, Sundance Premiere)
  • Amr El-Bayoumi
    Key Cast
    "House of Cards," "Captain Phillips" "Person of Interest"
  • Jalil Foty
    Key Cast
  • Dr. Najat Arafat Khelil
    Key Cast
    "Taita Samia"
  • Ahmed Barbary
    Post Production Supervisor
    "Free Solo"
  • Tarek Hefny
  • Mazin Helal
    Sound Designer & Recording Mixer
  • Katy Crain
    Production Manager
    "Jason Bourne" "13th" "Sleepy Hollow" "Veep" "Person of Interest"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Palestinian, Arab
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    Arabic, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ziad Foty

Founder of Foty Fusion Films, Ziad Foty is an emerging independent director and writer based in the DMV area. His films seek to highlight underrepresented stories in an effort to challenge the dominant representation in film. Winner of the Best Documentary Film at the Paul Robeson Howard Film Festival for his film "Renaissance Man" (2017,) Ziad has recently completed short narrative film "El Mahal" (2019) and is in post-production on his debut feature documentary "Return to Ramallah" (2019.)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Three years ago I realized I had to make El Mahal (2019). I began my career in Film Studies and focused my research on Palestinian cinema. I found little to no films that depicted the life of Palestinian-American’s living in the U.S. and the complex emotions they face related to nostalgia, assimilation, and economic survival. I am of Palestinian-descent and felt compelled to represent the multi-layered and rich landscape that make up the world of Palestine America. My hope is that this film disrupts the one-dimensional and complacent public discourse on the subject of immigration and offers fresh insights into the forgotten Palestinian-American immigrant population.