In Hollywood, "Green" Still Means White

Posted: Feb 15, 2011

Complete video at: Muslim-American writer Wajahat Ali discusses the uphill battle minority filmmakers often face when funding projects through Hollywood studios. As an example, Ali relates one producer's unintentionally funny casting suggestion for the role of a Pakistani father in a film adaptation of his play, "The Domestic Crusaders." ----- Bestselling author Reza Aslan headlines this panel of Muslim-American writers and artists to explore the question: Can art lead to greater understanding between America and the Middle East? This program was recorded in collaboration with the Commonwealth Club of California, on November 29, 2010. Wajahat Ali (playwright) is a Muslim American of Pakistani descent. "The Domestic Crusaders" is his first full-length play. Born and raised in Fremont, a city located in the Silicon Valley of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been writing, producing and directing plays, films, and comedy sketches since he was a child, enlisting his friends to be actors and crew. In Fall, 2001, during his undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley, he hesitantly began writing "The Domestic Crusaders" in order to pass a 20 page short story assignment due for a writing class taught by Ishmael Reed, and with his encouragement, transformed the piece into a play which premiered in 2005 at the Thrust Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater and San Jose University Theater. In 2009, The Domestic Crusaders premiered Off-Broadway in New York at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and broke their box office records during its historic 5 week run.