‘American Eid’ Director Aqsa Altaf on the Importance of Muslim Stories and Finding Her Voice

Disney’s Launchpad: Shorts Incubator — a filmmaking program dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices — celebrates six directors in its inaugural year to create a story centered on the theme of ‘Discover.’

One of the voices came from Los Angeles-based filmmaker Aqsa Altaf who wanted to capture what it meant to be a Muslin American. Growing up in Kuwait by Pakistani and Sri Lankan parents in a Muslim home, Altaf realized there were not many stories surrounding Muslim stories, especially positive ones that celebrates the culture. Instead, Altaf only saw negative stereotypes of Muslims in the media. She wanted to change all of that and became fascinated with telling diverse stories that reflected on subject matters that are universal.

With her short American Eid, she tells the story of a Muslin Pakistani immigrant, Ameena, who wakes up on Eid to find out she has to go to her American school. Feeling homesick and heartbroken, Ameena goes on a mission to make Eid a public-school holiday. During this time, she reconnects with her older sister and embraces her new home.

The Nerds of Color guest host Michael Lee got to chat with Altaf about the project and her connection to the story. 

Check it out below:

Don’t forget to check out the other amazing shorts from Disney’s Launchpad on Disney+ out now.

For more coverage on Disney’s Launchpad, click here.

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