United Nations news correspondent, Samar Nader, is currently working on a new documentary that she believes will be a future Oscar contender.
Due for release in eighteen months the film is called Olympia, after her grandmother. Samar says, “I titled the film after my grandmother because she was one of the women that left Lebanon during WW1. The Ottoman Empire at that time gave permission for the women and children to leave, but needed the men to stay behind to fight the war and work in the mountains of Turkey.” The one and a half hour documentary is about the early Lebanese immigration to the United States, during 1850-1914, and the women who became the heroes of this effort. It will be a mixture of true life stories and a drama filled documentary. Samar says this film has always been her passion to make and she hopes the film will change her life and influence the Lebanese community. She says, “this film will take eighteen months to film as it’s a very rich documentary and there is a lot of information to cover.”
Samar has been a United Nations news correspondent for the past 5 years and covers the issues discussed in meetings at the Security Council, especially regarding the crisis in the Middle East. Samar plans for her new documentary to be shown to Lebanese students as an educational tool and to the wider Lebanese community throughout the world. She plans on leaving journalism one day to become a screen writer on movies. She feels movies and documentaries are more of a mirror on the people and she gets frustrated with the politics at the United Nations sometimes. She would rather tell the truth to her audience and feels America is a great place to make a movie, in which she can reveal the trials, tribulations and accomplishments of her community and people.
Samar travels to Lebanon twice a year and feels so blessed to have such a warm family there. She feels passionately about her country and says they give her energy and the love of life and laughter she has always enjoyed. She wants to give back by sharing this documentary, which primarily outlines the life of her grandparent’s family, but says they are an example of what so many other families experienced during the same period. The documentary is a personal account but also a historical reference of what was going on in Lebanon at the time. Samar says, “my grandmother came to the United States and never again had a chance to return to Lebanon for a visit, and I feel that is a tragedy. The immigration rules were tightened so only half the family was allowed entry, therefore cousins and relatives were separated by the Ocean. Her two children became doctors in Texas so contributed greatly to the community and got to live the American dream.” Filming will take place in Lebanon and the East Coast of the United States, as most of the Lebanese community that immigrated here settled in this region of the country.
Samar will be directing some of the scenes herself as she has extensive TV experience, but is also working with another two directors in Lebanon and New York. Filming has already begun on scenes about a peddler woman and depicting the arrival of Lebanese people at Ellis Island. One of the first recorded arrivals there being Tanios Bachaalani, a Lebanese Christian from the Mount of Lebanon. Samar says special music is being written especially for the film and will feature the Nay and Bouzouki, as these were the only two instruments used at that time. She is also being very hands on in the research she is conducting for this project, consulting with professors and experts on the subject at the History Faculty of the Lebanese University in Beirut. As well as this she is working with professors from North Carolina and two Research Centers that specialize in the early immigration to the United States of the Lebanese community. For the past four months she has been reading a thesis and multiple books on the subject as she wants it to be as historically accurate as possible. She also regularly visits the New York Public Library to check the old Syrian newspapers published in the US during that time period, and feels she has gathered a wealth of information so far.
Samar’s enthusiasm and dedication for this project ensures its success and she can’t wait to share it with the Lebanese community and the world at large. If you wish to learn more about this project or feel you have information to contribute, please contact the writer for Samar’s direct contact information.