IN OFFICIAL SELECTION "THE JIM CROW HOLOCAUST" (US) WRITTEN BY JACOB HAYEK
Native-born Brooklyn, New Yorker Jacob Louis Hayek is one of the next wave of new film makers, driven to frame their visual works as opportunities to reconsider the context of uncomfortable or unpopular contemporary issues in a way that reconnect us all to the greater human condition. A graduate of the New York Film Academy, Hayek majored in filmmaking, learning everything from directing, cinematography and editing to producing and screenwriting. His first two pieces were comprised of shorts-a music story about three friends who grew up and parted ways as one of them reminisces about old times, and an adaptation of Edger Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. Hayek's first major film, which gained interest from a growing number of film festivals-and even got a call from Netflix-is The Jim Crow Holocaust. Originally written as his graduate project, Hayek's intent for this film is to open a window for examining a number of current fears and perceptions concerning immigration and prejudice from a variety of perspectives and beliefs. It then asks the audience to arrive at their own conclusions based solely on what it means to be human. Hayek currently resides in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he has lived for the past 16 years.
"THE JIM CROW HOLOCAUST" A Short Screenplay Written by Jacob Hayek (US)
TAGLINE: (Genre: Drama)
A nation fears its people. The sin of silence. A child’s protest.
A Jewish girl shows a Muslim boy that he has a friend in a time where he is hated for being one.
A young Muslim boy carries his heritage in the form of a item of clothing that he doesn't want. He is ridiculed and attacked for wearing it, which then gets ripped from him and desecrated. A Jewish classmate witnesses his trials and she is moved to help him. The boy decides to burn this cloth that he believes poisons his chance of being otherwise accepted by his classmates. But the girl saves it before it is totally destroyed. She is able to repair it, and surprises him when she hands it back to him. A new friendship begins.
In the year 2017, a 12-year-old Syrian Muslim boy named Jad finds his family are suddenly refugees who’ve finally reached the U. S. with his father, Mahmoud, and mother, Chafika. After the escalation of the Syrian Civil War, Mahmoud was forced to move his family to America to escape the conflict.
President Donald Trump has now enforced a series of laws that have been passed to prohibit any Muslim from appearing in public without the properly authorized identification (an arm band with the Muslim symbol on it.) There are those Americans who say these policies harken back to the Jim Crow Laws that were enacted in the U. S. from the late 1880’s up to 1965 throughout the South and other areas.
Those original acts were intended to establish a clear and separate line of segregation dividing the world of whites from African Americans in regards to all manner of their co-habitation. Now, with these new laws in place, Mahmoud soon becomes aware of the ever-growing pressure all Muslims are experiencing while trying to preserve their cultural lifestyle without being automatically branded as terrorists.
Jad’s parents send him off on his first day of school. He is feeling extremely anxious in his strange new environment. Jad carries with him the legacy of his deceased grandfather, as represented by the keffiyeh—the traditional Arabic headdress, sometime also worn as a scarf around the neck— which he has had with him since being forced to leave his grandfather behind in Syria. On the school bus, Jad is verbally abused by a boy named Joey who lost his brother in the Mid-East Wars.
As a result, Joey blames all Muslims for the death of his brother and takes his anger out on Jad. The argument between the two boys soon escalates into a physical attack. Joey is now joined by a number of other students on the bus who descend on Jad. During the scuffle, Joey rips Jad’s keffiyeh.
Nadine, a Jewish-American girl on the bus witnesses what happens. She gets upset in watching how her classmate’s hate for Jad escalates from abusive words to violence just because he's a Muslim.
Later that same day at school, Jad is once again attacked in the hallway, this time by three athletic boys who view him as an opportunity to reaffirm their superiority by targeting someone they view as a pitiful foreign weakling. They rip Jad’s keffiyeh from him, and take turns bodily desecrating it as they pass it between them.
With this final humiliation, Jad realizes that just being a Muslim seems to be the only reason for everything that’s happened to him that day. Now Jad views his keffiyeh as having played a major role in his being targeted for all this abuse. He resolves to destroy it and lights a match with the intention of burning it in order to free himself. But it seems Nadine has other plans for his keffiyeh and how to help him.0
She rescues it before it’s destroyed, repairs it and returns it to Jad. In a bold act of defiance, she faces his classmates, stands next to him and hangs her arm around his neck in front of everyone.