The US is a nation of immigrants. And there’s no better example of this than Hamtramck, Michigan, America’s first Muslim-majority city.
No bigger than two square miles, Hamtramck is home to a myriad of nationalities and ethnic groups. Over 30 different languages can be heard on its streets.
Using a city government election as a backdrop, producers and directors Justin Feltman and Razi Jafri eloquently capture the dynamism stemming from successive waves of immigration.
Is America a melting pot or a mosaic? Or does it matter what we call it? We find out as we catch up with Justin and Razi from their homes in Washington, DC, and Hamtramck, Michigan.
They tell us how they managed to gain such unprecedented access, and formed such close relationships with their subjects.
Hamtramck, USA is a deep dive into multiculturalism and what the future landscape of America could look like.
“Our nation is changing. Our demographics are changing very quickly and there’s a lot to be learnt from places like Hamtramck” – Razi Jafri
02:56 – The multicultural nature of America.
03:41 – Meeting our guests.
05:26 – Hamtramck USA and where it’s being released.
08:35 – The issues with Hamtramck being a Muslim-majority city.
09:45 – What the film is about.
11:50 – The inspiration behind the film was.
13:24 – The shifting demographics of the city and how these affected the election.
18:20 – How Razi and Justin gained access and built such good relationships with the locals.
21:02 – The underlying lessons the documentary examines.
24:02 – Our first clip on the last in a hundred year line of polish mayors.
28:12 – What Justin expected to see when he first went to Hamtramck.
30:36 – The lessons Razi wants viewers to take away from the film.
33:46 – The strong role of religion in Hamtramck and how that affects the urban soundscape.
37:29 – How having mixed religions in a community still gives residents a shared commonality.
39:19 – Whether America is a melting pot or a mosaic, and which should we strive for.
44:01 – Opportunities for documentaries as educational tools.
45:40 – The uncertainty there is with reopening film festivals.
47:06 – The films the two of them are now working on.
50:02 – Who Justin’s and Razi’s main influences are.