Immigrants and refugees are facing increasingly stringent immigration policies when trying to enter the United States. Refugees, by definition, come to the United States not out of free will, but out of desperation to save the lives of their families. As many communities have discovered, welcoming these new Americans does not go unrewarded. New Americans build communities and revitalize economies. The Rust Belt region is no exception. In order to understand our new neighbors, we need to listen to their stories and discover just how far they have come to share in the American dream.
Rust Belt New Americans is a film by MenajErie Studio, based on a photo exhibition by Maitham Basha-Agha. Maitham, a refugee himself, shares his story while helping others tell theirs.
The film’s mission is to break down prejudices and stereotypes towards refugee and immigrant populations. By sharing their experiences, it sheds light on the hardships they've faced as well as their personal and family values. We hope to remind humanity how to be compassionate and educate those who may not have a personal connection to the refugee crisis.
MenajErie Studio is a full-service video production company located in downtown Erie, PA. They specialize in high-quality visual content for businesses large and small. Jessica Yochim and Nick Taylor launched MenajErie Studio in 2013 as a digital media studio based in Erie, PA and serves clients nationwide. The MenajErie Studio team expanded its capabilities in 2015 by hiring Leah Taylor, followed by Greg Happ in 2016. Both are award-winning graduates from the Edinboro University film program.
The MenajErie team’s true passion is filmmaking. They have produced narrative films, several successful web series, and have done documentary work for local artists, Velocity Network, and the Erie County Historical Society. Their first feature documentary “Rustbelt New Americans” is a collaboration with photojournalist Maitham Basha-Agha. The film lays the groundwork for a potential mini-series about the refugee experience in cities within the aforementioned American Rust Belt.
To see their work, and contact them for more information, please visit: www.MenajErieStudio.com