The immediate context is the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Specifically, this film looks at how the international conflict intersects with American life and politics through a 1985 assassination in southern California. The topic is global and local, past and painfully present; from the origins of the conflict up to the contemporary voices who are ascendant in Israeli politics today.
This film investigates the U.S. government’s investigation to ask why this case is unsolved and looks deeply at the impact of this act of terrorism on Alex’s family and the Arab American community’s participation in civic life. It asks audiences to see the how a traumatic political assassination leaves a long-term scar. In December, 1985, FBI Director William Webster admitted that the Alex murder and other attacks put Arab-Americans in a “zone of danger.” Alex’s brother Sami observed that Webster said this without putting forward a plan to address it, isolating them against the threat. Indeed, the Odeh family still lives in fear. They express concerns that their push for justice could make them a target, but they continue to speak out.
The filmmakers seek to convert the controversial issues into assets by being even-handed, critical and embracing a humanistic understanding of all parties. The different currents come together in the question, “who killed Alex Odeh?” To ask this is to ask: why has this case remained open for decades? Most would agree that a crime committed on U.S. soil should be investigated and prosecuted. This in turn invites a generative discussion about America’s role in the Israel/Palestine conflict (and vice versa). The story also inverts common frames and misperceptions about how we define terrorism.
State of the Project
The film is currently being edited. There is enough funding in place to obtain a rough cut. However, post-production funding is necessary to complete the documentary so it can be released and distributed.
You can support the completion of Who Killed Alex Odeh? with a tax-deductible donation.