Pinball

A 19-year old Iraqi-American boy navigates typical adolescent crossroads and his unconventional family history as an immigrant in suburban Louisville, Kentucky.

Funding Initiative
Diversity Development Fund
Director

Naveen Chaubal

Naveen has worked for AJ+, Vice News, Bon Appétit and produced music videos for James Blake and Frank Ocean. His short film Pinball screened at the DGA and the Speed Art Museum among others. It premiered online on NoBudge.com and won Audience Choice. He co-shot and co-produced Tomorrow We Disappear, a feature documentary that chronicles the last days of Show more the Kathputli colony. A community hidden in the alleyways of New Delhi full of magicians, acrobats and puppeteers approach their looming eviction to make way for a modern skyscraper. The film premiered at Tribeca and screened at Hot Docs. Show less

Producer

Bryn Silverman

Bryn is a writer and producer. She was recently a story producer on Amend (2021), a six-part Netflix documentary series about the impact of the 14th Amendment. She post-produced and edited Are you afraid of Monsters?, a DACA PSA, which was honored at the 2018 Webby’s in the category “best film - public service & activism.” She produced the short film Pinball, Show more which screened at the Director’s Guild through Film Independent, the Montana International Film Festival, Tulsa International Film Festival, TIDE Film Festival and the Kansas City Film Festival, among others. She is currently producing a documentary about transracial adoption in Michigan and writing a limited series about Annie Oakley. Show less

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The Film

At a distance, teenagers can seem like a homogenous group of pre-adults; but upon closer inspection, every teen is living his or her own unique life story. Meet Yasir. As a typical American teenager, he hates school and lives for his social life. But Yasir’s atypical journey to becoming an American teen began when he was born in Baghdad and fled with his family to Egypt soon after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. When he was ten years old, Yasir and his family received asylum in Louisville, Kentucky.

There are many difficult influences at play in a teenager’s life. Compared to many teens, Yasir’s life might be considered extraordinary. Upon trying to open his first bank account, Yasir learns that he does not have legal citizenship status in the United States. He starts to work multiple odd jobs to save up for the citizenship application fee, only to impulsively splurge on a trip to Florida for spring break. But Yasir does have big dreams for his life and wants to see them to fruition.

Yasir, his best friend Sharif, and their tight-knit group of Iraqi-American friends savor their fleeting adolescence, navigating the realities of growing up and growing apart. All the while bearing the complexities of living as Iraqi asylum seekers separated from their communities and living in the country that displaced them.

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