Searching Skies (2017)

When a Syrian refugee family is invited to a Christian family's house for Christmas dinner, they are caught between opposing viewpoints for and against their presence -- until an unexpected event suddenly occurs.

Director:

Vivian Hua

Writer:

Vivian Hua
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Cast

Credited cast:
Nour Bitar ... Amira (as Nour M. Bitar)
Leya Daoud Leya Daoud ... Fatima
Tanner Gould ... Derek
Susan Kohler ... Ingrid
Khaled Al Maleh Khaled Al Maleh ... Hamza
Elizabeth Southard ... Anne
Maxou Susini ... Fathi
Max Thayer ... Bill
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Storyline

When a Syrian refugee family is invited to a Christian family's house for Christmas dinner, they are caught between opposing viewpoints for and against their presence -- until an unexpected event suddenly occurs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

10 May 2017 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,500 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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User Reviews

 
A solidly-acted, socially aware, effectively-executed short film
28 August 2017 | by tkandis-13072See all my reviews

I saw Vivian Hua's debut short at the Seventh Art Stand, a film festival intended to raise awareness about Islamophobia, and it genuinely stood out. Social-issue films sometimes over-emphasize their message at the expense of engaging viewers emotionally and cinematically. Searching Skies works because it finds a core of universality in its subject matter, and Hua delivers the film with considerable confidence and craftsmanship.

It's Christmas time, and a well-intended couple hosts a family of Syrian immigrants for a holiday dinner. Friction occurs when the prejudices of the couple's college-age nephew Derek begin surging to the surface. Soon things come to a head with Derek and his uncle, until an unexpected incident opens the young man's eyes.

Some nuance is sacrificed to keep things concise (this is a nine-minute short film, after all), but Hua's cast really hits all the right notes, especially Tanner Gould as Derek. His character's xenophobia is frustrating, but Gould does a great job of making him a human being. Kudos also to Hua's script, which gives voice to Derek's (and by extent a fair share of the audience's) fears and concerns without turning him into a monster. And no spoilers here, but the film's final denouement really packs an emotional punch.


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