Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Persons of Interest 2003

Directed by Alison Maclean, Tobias Perse

USA In Arabic, English, Spanish and Urdu with English subtitles
63 minutes Beta-SP


Richard Rutkowski


Sandrine Isambert


Muhamed Abushhaker
Syed Ali
Khadrah Ali
Nabil Ayesh


Sundance, Rotterdam 2004


As many as 5,000 Arab or Muslim Americans may have been detained by the US government since 9/11, some for longer than a year, without any connection to terror attacks being established. Expatriate New Zealander Alison Maclean and her co-director interview a handful of them in this quietly unnerving film.

“No documentary was more timely or disturbing [at Sundance] than Persons of Interest. Filmmakers Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse conducted a series of interviews with Arab and Muslim immigrants who were swept up in the post-9/11 hysteria and imprisoned, often with no charges filed against them and no legal recourse. The film has an elegant, almost formal, simplicity; all the interviews are conducted in a bare room suggestive of a jail cell. The 12 stories we hear illustrate all too clearly the human cost of a Justice Department that has abandoned fundamental human rights in its indiscriminate campaign against terrorism. But the film never raises its voice to propagandize. It doesn’t need to.” — David Ansen, Newsweek