The country of Jordan is front and center in film about a sophisticated New Yorker who heads to the Middle Eastern country to arrange her wedding, provoking a clash of cultures, the old and new, and opening up long ago healed family wounds.
PARK CITY, UTAH, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 17, 2013) (REUTERS) - The 2013 Sundance Film Festival opened on Thursday (January 17) with an array of films including Jordanian family drama "May in the Summer."
"May in the Summer" tells the story of a writer, May, who returns to Jordan to get married to her Muslim boyfriend. The film is written and directed by and stars Cherien Dabis as May and Bill Pullman, who plays her estranged father.
For Dabis, participating in the opening night screening that the film festival was an unprecedented honor.
"I find myself always having an out of body experience and I keep saying to myself, 'Be here! Be here!' And it's so hard because it's so overwhelmingly amazing. It's actually difficult to take in," said Dabis.
Bill Pullman talked about the experience of working and filming in Jordan.
"Jordan is a very interesting country with a uniqueness about its people and everything," said Pullman. "We actually shot during Ramadan so that was long days where you ... and I fasted for two days at one point to get that experience, the call to prayer five times a day, that was all part of the story."
Dabis said it was very important to set a universal story in a Middle Eastern country.
"It is my heritage and I did grow up very aware of the fact that Middle Easterners are very misrepresented and underrepresented and I just wanted to tell a universal story in theMiddle East so that we could see the context in the Middle East and yet a story that has nothing to do with the things that we see everyday on the news. Because the Middle Eastis in the news everyday, it's so important that we widen our perceptions of what it is," said Dabis.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 17 through January 27 in Park City, Utah.