Filmmaker in person!
Twenty-something, second generation Lebanese-American Sami works the night shift behind the bullet-proof glass of his family’s Detroit gas station/convenience store. He’d been planning a different life for himself before his father was fatally shot in the pre-plexiglass days. Now seemingly content in his discontent, Sami runs the store with his overzealous cousin Mike who, despite a cash crush and a gas war with a rival down the street, exuberantly schemes to build a service station empire. Sami half-heartedly agrees to Mike’s plans until Najlah walks in the door, selling phone cards. Rola Nashef’s first feature film may well be the first Arab-American romantic comedy-drama; it is also an energetic take on Romeo and Juliet. Sami and Najlah furtively meet behind the plexiglass—Najlah keeping the relationship a secret from her strict brother, and Sami not wanting to let his family down—as they fall in love and discover what other possibilities life holds. Nashef expanded her prize-winning short film to create a provocative and comedic take on the Shakespearean tragedy. Her eye is sharp and we see her as one of the leads in the new age of Arab-American cinema.