(NORTHRIDGE) - The idea for the film, "Ahmed, Say Something Funny," was hatched about six years ago when Cal State Northridge cinema and television arts professor Thelma Vickroy caught a performance of comedian Ahmed Ahmed at the Comedy Store in Hollywood.
Her friends, CSUN art alum Fred Beshid, a Los Angelesbased writer, artist and producer, and his sister, Northridge child development alum Susan Beshid, insisted that the comedian's life story was one that Vickroy, a documentary maker, would want to tell.
"I am interested in doing stories about people who are kind of on the outside but trying to make their way and be accepted," Vickroy said. "Ahmed was born in Egypt, but came here when he was only six months old and grew up in Southern California. He's chosen one of the absolutely hardest careers you could possibly choose to be a comedian and actor. I couldn't resist."
Vickroy spent the next five years chronicling Ahmed's career from the stages at the Comedy Store to his international tour as part of the stand-up comedy team known as the "Axis of Evil."
The film is not a performance piece, but rather a portrait-style documentary that tells the sometimes painful story of an Arab American immigrant trying to succeed in a post 9/11 America, despite his family's resistance to his career choice.
"Ahmed, Say Something Funny" premiers Tuesday, July 29, at the 2008 Action on Film International Film Festival in Pasadena. The screening is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Laemmle's One Colorado Theatre, 42 Miller Alley. The film has been nominated for four of the festival's honors: Best Documentary, Best Documentary-Political, Best Comedy Feature and Best Female Filmmaker-Feature to Vickroy, who served as the film's producer and director. The Beshids ended up associate producers of the film.
Vickroy said that while she's honored by the nominations, she's particularly thrilled that the film is premiering in her adopted home town. "I've lived in the Pasadena area for 21 years, so to be able to share my newest film with this community is very special to me," she said. (MORE)