Watch Brooklyn Inshallah on America Reframed PBS World Channel
Learn more
Brooklyn Inshallah
Festival Circuit
El Mahal
Festival Circuit
Angel of Gaza
In Development
A Prophet for Our Time

El Mahal

Jamal, a young Palestinian-American, longs for his missing father on his 18th birthday. Trapped in the family convenience store, he must endure his overbearing uncle who carries a vital family secret.

Jamal, a young Palestinian-American, longs for his missing father on his 18th birthday. Trapped in the family convenience store, he must endure his overbearing uncle who carries a vital family secret.

Support this Project
Written & Directed By: Ziad Foty
Short Narrative

Taita Samia, Jamal’s kind-hearted grandmother, keeps the peace between her son Soheil and grandson Jamal as tensions between the two rise. Soheil, overcome with memories of nostalgia for his native Palestine and the burden of a vital family secret, discovers that money is missing from the register. When Taita Samia leaves for the night, emotions boil over. Painted against a backdrop of exile and immigration, "El Mahal" is the story of the life of Palestinian-Americans.

Award Logo 0
Award Logo 1
Award Logo 2
Award Logo 3
Award Logo 4
Award Logo 5
Award Logo 6
Award Logo 7
Award Logo 8
Award Logo 9
Award Logo 10
Award Logo 11
Award Logo 12
Directors Biography

Founder of Foty Fusion Films, Ziad Foty is an independent director, writer, and producer based in the DMV area. His films seek to highlight underrepresented stories in an effort to challenge the dominant representation in cinema.
His experience in documentary, experimental, and narrative conventions has led to the production of a diverse crop of films including experimental short “The Strange Ways of the Occident” (2015) and short documentary film “The Renaissance Man” (2017) about a DC native combatting gentrification through art. Most recently, Ziad’s debut narrative short “El Mahal” (2019) about a Palestinian-American’s struggle to survive in a family-run grocery store, won “Best Foreign Language Short'' at the 2019 Marina Del Ray Film Festival and “Best Cinematography” and “2nd place general submission Award” at the 2019 Wheaton Film Festival. In 2021 Ziad will premiere narrative short Blue (2021), and his debut feature documentary "Return to Ramallah" (2021) about his father returning back to his native Palestine after 40 years in America.

Directors Statement

Three years ago I realized I had to make El Mahal (2019). I began my career in Film Studies and focused my research on Palestinian cinema. I found little to no films that depicted the life of Palestinian-American’s living in the U.S. and the complex emotions they face related to nostalgia, assimilation, and economic survival. I am of Palestinian-descent and felt compelled to represent the multi-layered and rich landscape that make up the world of Palestine America. My hope is that this film disrupts the one-dimensional and complacent public discourse on the subject of immigration and offers fresh insights into the forgotten Palestinian-American immigrant population.

Lisa Thrasher

Lisa Thrasher, J.D., is an Independent Film Producer and Entertainment Lawyer with 20 years of entertainment industry work in Hollywood and a Film Business & Producing Professor at George Mason University. Lisa's films range from romantic comedy to drama, many of which have both premiered at top-tier film festivals and achieved commercial and critical success, winning numerous honors and awards including "Bini," a Student Academy Awards finalist (Narrative - Domestic Film School category.) Go Magazine named Lisa as one of the "Women We Love."

Fairouz Foty

Fairouz Foty is an independent producer located in the DMV area and a full-lyric soprano in her own right. She has sung in leading musical performance centers such as The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, the Verizon Center, The Croatian Embassy, The Slovenian Embassy, The Bulgarian Embassy, The Egyptian Embassy, The Anderson House, The Arts Club of Washington, among others.

Lead Actor
Jalil Foty

Jalil Foty is a Palestinian-American actor based out of Detroit, Michigan. El Mahal is Jalil’s narrative film debut and his method-acting approach has won him wide acclaim during the film’s festival run. Jalil brings a rawness and unapologetic sincerity to the character of Jamal helping bring to life the plight of 2nd generation Palestinian-Americans living in the diaspora.

Supporting Actor
Najat Khelil

Dr. Khelil is an actress and accomplished Palestinian-American academic based in the DMV. She studied acting in Cairo, Egypt in her college years and since then has dedicated her life to advocating for Arab issues. Dr. Khelil is the president of the Arab Women's Council Research and Education Fund and is a trained nuclear physicist who obtained her doctorate from the State University of North Texas. She has taught at the University of Algiers, George Washington University and Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has lectured on women issues around the world from Jerusalem to Moscow and Toronto to Beijing. Furthermore, she was the first woman to get a PhD in Nuclear Physics in the state of Texas.

Supporting Actor
Amr Elbayoumi

Amr El-Bayoumi is an Egyptian-American actor and voice-over artist based in Washington DC and New York City. He has performed in several award-winning short films, feature films, theater and network television productions in the US, England, and Egypt. Most recently he appeared on House of Cards, Mr. Robot, The Blacklist, Madam Secretary, Quantico and Person of Interest.

Project Photos

El Mahal in News, Press, Festivals