Cinema Femme is excited to highlight producer Mariana Treviño on her feature film “JACIR”. Treviño produced the film with Waheed AlQawasmi, and “JACIR” is executive produced by Larry Tolbert, Marty Martin Kelman, Ron Lazarov, and Jill and Scott Notowich. Treviño is a Mexican filmmaker based in New York. She started her career in advertising, working for international clients such as Jose Cuervo, FIFA, and IKEA, receiving a Cannes Lions Award in 2011. Her credits include titles like the critically-acclaimed Showtime docuseries The Trade (Sundance) and The Boy of Medellin (TIFF), both documentary projects from Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman, as well as the Emmy®-winning limited series Halston (Netflix). In late 2020, she was chosen out of 340,000 submissions as a collaborator for the YouTube original film, “Life In a Day,” produced by Ridley Scott, and most recently participated as a judge of the 23rd New York Latino Film Festival.  

“JACIR” looks at the divisiveness of U.S. politics through the eyes of a young Syrian refugee, Jacir (Rahbani), on the streets of Memphis as he faces the hard truth of chasing the American dream. He’s stuck in the never-ending cycle of poverty and social injustice while dealing with his conservative, cable-news-consuming, and opioid-addicted neighbor, Meryl (Bracco). Knowing very little English and realizing that life is from the ideal American life he had imagined, Jacir embarks on a journey to win the affection of a new love interest, Nadia, despite her overzealous dad, and measuring an unlikely friendship with an African American line-cook and rapper named Jerome.

The film shows us the importance of letting go of our preconceived notions of one another, being there for our community, and fixing what is broken no matter what our pain may do to us. “JACIR” is an authentic and gritty look at the refugee crisis and the division in American society today. The film stars Academy Award®-nominee Lorraine Bracco (“Goodfellas”, The Sopranos, “Pinocchio”) and Lebanese newcomer Malek Rahbani. 

Summary credited to press notes

Mariana Treviño

Mariana Treviño Producer Statement on “JACIR”:

“JACIR” focuses on the loss of livelihood and the effort to rebuild a new one, which is a poignant reminder of the challenges many people face daily, whether due to personal circumstances or larger societal issues.

The film follows a Syrian refugee’s experience living in poverty in the United States, which will resonate with many inside the Latino immigrant community who have faced similar challenges (including myself). Many people around the world are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, or other forms of violence, while others may choose to immigrate to new countries in search of better opportunities. Either way, the film can help raise awareness about the difficulties many immigrants and refugees face when coming to the United States.

Producing “JACIR” was driven by a desire to explore and focus on important themes and issues related to the human experience in the current world climate to promote empathy, understanding, and positive change among its viewers. 

I like to see this film as a powerful reminder that there is often more than meets the eye. By exploring the grey areas of life through its different characters; “JACIR” can help audiences to understand and empathize with the perspectives of others, regardless of their political or socioeconomic backgrounds.

Producer statement credited to press notes.

JACIR, the dual language Arabic/English film and debut feature from writer and director Waheed AlQawasmi will be released digitally on May 5, 2023 starting with Apple TV.

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