Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and spent his formative years living between the United States and the Middle East. He’s an active filmmaker and visual artist, with several short films, documentaries and feature films to his credit. His films have screened at underground and international film festivals, and have been broadcast on television stations across the globe.
In early 2004, nine months after the United States invaded Iraq, Usama and his wife returned to his birthplace to shoot his first feature documentary titled Nice Bombs. The documentary had a theatrical release in Chicago and New York, and a broadcast premiere on the Sundance Channel.
Alshaibi’s controversial narrative feature, Profane, premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and has won several awards, including best feature film at the Boston Underground Film Festival and best film of the year by the Underground Film Journal in 2011.
Alshaibi has also produced and directed music videos for independent record labels such as Thrill Jockey, Skin Graft and Drag City. He was commissioned by Detroit Public Television to direct and produce two segments (Mother Mosque and Elkader, Iowa) for the award-winning 13-part series Arab-American Stories, which aired nationally on public television stations.
Alshaibi’s films have received several grants, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation award, an award from the Creative Capital Foundation for the Arts, and two Playboy Foundation awards. He is also the winner of the Creative Promise award at Tribeca All Access in New York City.
Usama and his creative partner Kristie Alshaibi run and operate Artvamp, which produces the majority of their films. Baghdad, Iowa is his most current art-cinema project.