Experiencing Interruptions?

Joe & The Shawl

Joe Potay, an adorable tow truck driver really digs Kelli, a fellow North Carolinian, when he meets her as he changes her dead car battery. But Joe’s interest takes a sharp right turn when he learns that Kelli is a Muslim. Kelli finds herself stuck in Joe's tow truck cab as he reveals his ultra-conservative white nationalist ideas. Joe informs Kelli that she’s damned to hell, so Kelli insinuates she’s left him something special in his truck.

  • Nicole Ballivian
    Driving to Zigzigland
  • Nicole Ballivian
    Driving to Zigzigland
  • Deonna Kelli Sayed
  • Jill Galbraith
    Key Cast
    "Kelli Rashid"
    Clickbait, Curing, Solve, On the Fence
  • Travis Lincoln Cox
    Key Cast
    "Joe Potay"
    The 4th, The Soul Collector, Handle With Care
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 19, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    13,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Vox Feminae Festival
    May 8, 2020
    World Premiere
    Audience Award
  • New York Women in Film & Television Festival
    New York
    United States
    January 20, 2021
    Grand Winner
  • New York Women in Film & Television Festival
    New York
    United States
    January 20, 2021
    1st Place, Social Issues Category
Director Biography - Nicole Ballivian

Nicole Ballivian is a Sundance Screenwriter Fellow and director who most recently completed the comedic short film, Joe & The Shawl that was the 2021 Grand Winner at NYWIFT Festival and received the 2020 Audience Award at Vox Feminae. Nicole is currently in development with three scripts: Sleeping on Stones, Hijrah Baby and Yemma. Nicole's directorial debut was the comedic feature, Driving to Zigzigland, shot in Los Angeles & Palestine, which won international festival awards. Nicole’s production background includes work for Warner Bros, Universal Pictures and in independent film.

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Director Statement

Joe & The Shawl is based on a true and hilarious story by Deonna Kelli Sayed entitled “Contested Whiteness: True Tales of a White Muslim Woman”.

A white American Muslim woman is never "suspected" of being Muslim unless she wears the hijab.

Unlike Muslim people of color, white “unidentified” Muslims can blend in with those who have outright, but more often hidden Islamophobia. These Muslims are the ones who can witness the conversations without filters.

I’ve seen the world from both sides of the shawl myself, and these spoken beliefs are often so ill-informed, racist and insane, you have to laugh.