The Great American Family

In 2009, Dawn Hanna was sentenced to six years in federal prison, accused of conspiring to broker telecom equipment to Iraq during the sanctions. After her sentencing, two men risked their lives to tell the truth. Unbeknownst to Dawn and the jury which tried her, her co-conspirator was actually a CIA operative. The project was sponsored by the U.S. to listen in on Saddam and his men. The Court said this new evidence wouldn’t have made a difference in the jury’s verdict.

The Great American Family touches on a number of important issues that are robbing American families from living the American dream: a criminal justice system that is based on greed and profit; big lies that lead to wars, sanctions, terrorism and other costly consequences; a democracy that is based on double standards.

This documentary is based on a 2017 Eric Hoffer Award-Winning book with the same title.

  • Weam Namou
    Director
  • Weam Namou
    Writer
  • Weam Namou
    Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 21 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    55,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • IndieFEST International Film Festival

    United States
  • First-Time Filmmaker Lift-Off Network

    United Kingdom
    Official Selection
  • Caravan International Film Festival

    India
    Official Selection
  • ImpactDoc

    United States
Director Biography - Weam Namou

Weam Namou is an Eric Hoffer award-winning author of 15 books, a speaker, journalist, and filmmaker. She is the executive director of the Chaldean Cultural Center which houses the world's first and only Chaldean Museum. She also serves as an Ambassador for the Authors Guild of America [Detroit Chapter], the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers. Namou hosts a weekly half hour TV show on Community Media Network in Troy, Michigan. She’s also founder of The Path of Consciousness, a spiritual and writing conference and retreat, and Unique Voices in Films, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Her book, The Great American Family: A Story of Political Disenchantment, won a 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award and the feature documentary which she produced and directed won nearly a dozen international awards.

Her script, Pomegranate, was selected quarter finalist by Francis Coppola's Zoetrope. She later partnered with Buffalo 8 and directed Pomegranate. The feature film was completed in 2023 and it's currently touring film festivals.

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Director Statement

Originally decades ago, all I wanted to do was write books. My design changed one day in the mid-1990s when I realized the extent of stereotyping that exists in the West regarding the Arab world in general and the women of that region in particular.

I was on transit at Heathrow Airport, on my way home to Michigan after a trip to Europe, when I entered a bookstore and saw a rack of novels about Arab women written by Western authors. Each front cover showed a veiled woman in distress and on the back, a synopsis told of her attempts to flee from an abusive husband, father or brother. I was disturbed that that was the only type of lifestyle displayed for the public.

When I returned to America, I searched for books, articles and movies that depicted stories with either influential or simply everyday Middle Easterners, stories that portrayed the healthier or more realistic part of the Arab world. There were hardly any out there, especially not when it came to the women. From that point on I was determined to write, and later produce, realistic life stories and reports of the people and culture from that region.