Experiencing Interruptions?


A series of lyrical vignettes explores the cultural encounter between two radically different communities—one Somali, one white—that coexist in a precarious balance.

  • Jacob Roberts
    Producer, Director, Editor, Sound Recordist
  • David Shayne
    Producer, Director, Editor, CInematographer
  • Austin Weber
    Sound Recordist
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Poetic, Observational
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    3,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Camden International Film Festival 2019
    Camden, ME
    United States
    September 15, 2019
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • El Dorado Film Festival 2019
    El Dorado, AK
    United States
    October 12, 2019
    Arkansas Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Vermont International Film Festival 2019
    Burlington, VT
    United States
    October 18, 2019
    Vermont Premiere
    Official Selection
  • New Hampshire Film Festival 2019
    Portsmouth, NH
    United States
    October 19, 2019
    New Hampshire Premiere
    Official Selection
  • White River Junction Indie Films 2019
    White River Junction, VT
    United States
    November 2, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Bates Film Festival 2019
    Lewiston, ME
    United States
    November 7, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Brooklyn Film Festival 2020
    Brooklyn, NY
    United States
    May 29, 2020
    New York Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Athens International Film and Video Festival 2020
    Athens, OH
    United States
    Ohio Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography

Jacob Roberts and David Shayne are filmmakers based in New York. Created during their senior year at Harvard College, LEWISTON is their first short documentary. Since graduating, David has continued to work on films, including the feature documentary SOME KIND OF HEAVEN (Sundance 2020), and Jacob has turned his focus to comedy writing. As undergraduates, the two collaborated on a variety of creative projects, including "Hasty Pudding Theatricals 169: Casino Evil" (co-authors). Jacob is from D.C. and David grew up in Nashville.

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Director Statement

LEWISTON is an intimate portrait of an American experiment of living. A crowd of Muslim worshippers prays in an ice hockey rink. An aging Mainer reflects on his unlikely neighbors. Somali women in vibrant colors frisk and frolic at a wedding feast in a conference center. These scenes of cultural collision offer a glimpse of life in Lewiston today. Midway through the film, the
audience learns that Donny Giusti has been killed during a drunken brawl between white and Somali Lewistonians. In the latter half, we see the radicalization of one of Giusti’s close friends and a Somali family’s struggle for normalcy as the city reckons with renewed racial tension.


In the early 1990s, civil war in Somalia forced thousands of Somalis to seek asylum in the United States. These initial refugees settled in Minnesota and Georgia. In the early 2000s, a secondary migration of Somali-Americans took place as thousands relocated to Maine in search of better schools and cheaper housing. Lewiston, Maine, a small working-class city with a history of French Canadian immigration, proved especially appealing. Initially, white Mainers—from hate groups to the mayor of Lewiston himself—discouraged this relocation. In the wake of the financial crisis, however, white and Somali Lewistonians reached a sort of détente as Somali businesses revitalized Main Street. Recently, Lewiston has faced a resurgence of xenophobia.