I’m interested in making a war drama that’s not about the making of an American hero, but rather about the holistic perspective of what we lost in Iraq. This is a film about memory. Who gets to be remembered? Whose story is told? And the many ways a collective memory is constructed through monuments and memorials.
This film represents many firsts. It’s about a character who comes from the Sikh community. A community I grew up in. Sikhs became the first targets of revenge killings post 9/11. Even my parents were called “terrorists” and were told to “go back to their own country” while I was deployed to Iraq. This film will be the first film that explores our complicated relationship to a country that doesn’t always see us as its own. Similarly, the Iraqi civilians who have been killed as a result of our actions have simply become collateral damage. It’s through WMD’s character that we get a perspective so unique and rare – an Iraqi-muslim, punk rocker – that it humanizes the statistics of war and forces us to contemplate the cost of our military actions.
I hope this film will come into the world as a politically charged, edgy drama that opens the possibility of what America can be if it rose to its higher ideals. Arresting God, the title of the film, comes from the practice of dervish dancing. The dance becomes a symbol for how we protest and engage with the painful realities by never giving up. The act of arresting God is to do the hard work that’s needed to restore wholeness to a world that’s so broken by war and violence.