Ilhan Omar is an immigrant and a Muslim woman. She wears a headscarf—and she wants your vote. Like many in her community, Omar immigrated to the United States from Somalia in the ’90s. As their Somali community grew, Omar observed an increasing disconnect between the citizens and the public officials who represented them. So, in 2016, she decided to do something about it. Following the candidate from her first day on the trail, director Norah Shapiro brings audiences a rare inside look at a campaign, as Omar, a political outsider hoping to become the first Somali-American legislator elected in the United States, takes on a 43-year incumbent for a seat as Minnesota state representative.
Time for Ilhan captures a unique moment in modern American politics. Even as the 2016 election is remembered for a sharp swing to far-right conservatism, Omar’s historic candidacy represents a possible new future for American government, one in which a charismatic trailblazer and her scrappy campaign staff, making no apologies, establish themselves as the fresh change they want to see in their government.
Norah Shapiro is a Minneapolis-based filmmaker. Her first feature film, 2014’s Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile, premiered at Doc NYC and screened worldwide. She has received a McKnight filmmaking fellowship and numerous production and completion awards from funders, including the Jerome Foundation and Catapult Film Fund.
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