|East Coast Premiere|
|Crew: ||Producers: Dina M. Saleh, Kenya Vázquez - Screenwriters: - Director of Photography: Yuting Jiang - Additional Camera: Roland Folkmayer, Valeriya Golovina - Sound Designer: Adam Benobaid - Editor: Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung
A soul-searching filmmaker sets out to make a documentary about the United Arab Emirates' Islamic hotline center, where scholars answer questions and guide people towards the right path according to the Quran. As a friendship blossoms with one of the scholars, the filmmaker's relationship with a Muslim boyfriend makes her question her beliefs and the integrity of her film. This self-reflexive documentary follows one woman's journey to understand Islam and to love, regardless of differences in faith.
Yu-Chieh (Andrea) Chung had been training to become a classical musician when she left home at the age of 18 for New York University Abu Dhabi. Although she intended to study Social Research and Public Policy, she soon found herself inexplicably drawn to Film and New Media. Fortunately, she has found a happy balance between these disciplines in documentary filmmaking.
Long before discovering her passion in documentary filmmaking, Andrea was born in Taipei, Taiwan, to a family full of wanderers. Her mother is a flight attendant, while her father's family belongs to a subgroup of Han Chinese called Hakka, who got their name, literally translates as "guest people," because of their large diaspora population.
Influenced by her family, Andrea is curious about the world and passionate about telling stories of people who are in between places or stages of life, as well as those who strive to understand and overcome differences.
Andrea's documentary and multimedia work have allowed her to continue exploring the globe: She made two documentaries in Cuba that explore ideas of home and what change in this intimate space can mean. As a videographer, she worked for several media outlets, documenting the Brussels Film Festival in Belgium and the largest travel blogger convention that took place in Stockholm, Sweden. Additionally, she took part in documentary projects in Hungary and the Czech Republic, about asylum seekers and racial tension, respectively.
Andrea's films have screened at festivals in the UAE, the US, and Sri Lanka, while her written and other audiovisual works have appeared in publications such as Litro Magazine, Cineuropa.com, Airport Road, The Gazelle, and Maverick Youth.
One of Andrea's biggest goals in filmmaking is to direct a film so good that the audience will willingly sit through the credits.
Finding Nasseebi is a film that I never thought I would make, but at the same time, it is the film that I have to make. Nasseebi means something that is meant to be in Arabic. In the film, I strive to find what the right spiritual path for me is, while simultaneously trying to get closer to my Nasseebi, the one who is meant for me, by learning about his religion. Moreover, Finding Nasseebi also signifies that I am sharing with the audience my process of finding the best way to tell this story.
When I first set out to make this film about the female muftis working at Abu Dhabi’s Fatwa Center, I was drawn to the subject because of a strong desire to learn more about the culture and religion of the United Arab Emirates, a country that I have called home for the past few years. Not being brought up with any specific religion makes me especially curious to understand what drives the muftis to dedicate both their private and working life to Islam.
However, halfway through the process, I found that the familiarity I developed with the Center did not bring about an emotional bond between the muftis and me. As I became frustrated with not having the type of relationship that enabled me to raise sensitive questions, I stopped and asked myself, if I am afraid to open up about my own story, how can I expect others to be willing to reciprocate with the same honesty?
The making of this self-reflexive documentary reminded me of the reason why I became a filmmaker: to find new perspectives and get closer to the truth. I am Finding Nasseebi, and making this film is part of my attempt to create a complete self.