A fateful encounter between two U.S. Marines and an Afghan teenager fuels a wartime cycle of violence in this inspired-by-true-events short

Starring Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead, Avengers: Infinity War) and Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games), Hajji strikes on a terrifying reality and projected misconception of what we know that goes on in wars far away from us. Directed by R.H. Norman and produced by Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran David Lawson Jr., the film gives us a different perspective on who we are used to call “the enemy”.

Although set in Afghanistan, “Hajji” is inspired by the real events of the Haditha Massacre in Iraq. The project was born out of frustration with the devolution of modern war cinema into a psychological thriller genre focused almost solely on the Western soldier’s burden. This often occurs to the exclusion of Arab perspectives and characters, who are regularly portrayed as a homogenous menace of thieves and killers or faceless victims. We wanted to tell a more balanced story about the cycle of violence inherent to war, with greater attention paid to the perspectives of Middle Eastern characters. In “Hajji,” there are only victims.