HE’S ISIS

Based on a true-ish story, it’s Omar’s first day playing a terrorist when an actual ISIS terrorist takes over the film set, leaving Omar to save the crew. If only they could tell him apart from the actual terrorist.

Director’s Statement

I started writing this short because I was sick of getting typecast as a terrorist or tortured Arab. Imagine the irony when I finished it and realised I had written myself exactly that.

At the time, while it felt like we were finally taking steps to ensure more diversity and representation on our Australian screens I couldn’t help but feel these roles were just more of the same stereotypes we were already seeing – thugs and criminals. I wanted to show that we can be more than that, we aren’t interchangeable despite how we might “look” and that even a Middle Eastern man can play the hero.

The “true” part of this story comes from my first gig straight out of Drama School, where I was asked to play “rebel forces” in a feature film without being given a script, and being told I could be given lines on the day. The role turned out to be a terrorist, of course. They then asked me to bring my friends for Day 2 so I could have a posse… of terrorists.

At the end of the day we are all just human beings who want to tell human stories that don’t always revolve around themes of violence and extremism… unless we’re Bruce Willis in Die Hard… totally up for that.