May 8, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) – Yassir Dirar, a native of northern Sudan, is not a professional actor but a soon-to-be graduate of SMU's Dedman School of Law. Yet as he prepares for commencement, he’s also playing a major role in an unfinished independent film already generating buzz on CNN and on the BBC.
The film, written and directed by Bentley Brown of Dallas, is about a Sudanese family that moves to America with great expectations, but struggles with cultural and identity problems. The family portrayed in the film was based on a number of refugees’ experiences, but their problems parallel Dirar's very real life.
Twelve years ago Dirar's wife obtained a visa to the U.S. via the lottery system and Dirar, a practicing attorney in Sudan, found himself in Dallas. Since his Sudanese law degree wasn't recognized in the U.S., he struggled to rebuild his professional life, driving taxis and delivering pizzas in order to work his way through SMU's law school for his second law degree.
Brown met Dirar through Dallas' Sudanese Community Association and was immediately taken by the man and his story. "For someone who has never acted before, his life experiences really back up his role," Brown says. The film is being funded through a unique crowd-funding platform through Indiegogo, and Brown and Dirar hope to raise $12,000 by May 9 to have the film completed.
More information about the movie is available at: http://faisalgoeswest.com/?page_id=30.
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