Does My Head Look Big In This?

Boston, Massachusetts | Film Short

Comedy, Romantic Comedy

Hanna El-Mohandess

1 Campaigns | Florida, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $2,900 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

40 supporters | followers

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Iman, a Muslim Egyptian-American stand up comedian, struggles to navigate belonging to two cultures in opposition in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. This is the movie I wanted to see when I was younger. This is the movie I need to make so other Muslim Arab-American men and women finally feel seen.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

This film isn’t about rejecting family, culture, or religion. It's about belonging to two cultures at once while somehow staying true to both. It explores the challenges of being a first-generation Arab-American Muslim in the midst of the only tragedy that could target all elements of that identity.

The Story

My name is Hanna El-Mohandess and I am the Writer, Director, and Executive Producer of Does My Head Look Big In This? I am a Muslim, Egyptian-American woman who learned very early on that image is everything.

I was born on July 1st, 1999, only two years and two months before the moment that would define my entire existence as a Muslim Arab-American woman. I’ve spent my life being represented, and therefore subsequently defined, in fragments; I am both Arab and American, both terrorist and hero. Growing up within an ill-defined, and largely invisible, intersection became even more difficult once my mother became a U.S. diplomat, as every move across the globe pushed me to rely more and more on film and television as my only connections back home. I felt lost within the representations of my identities, as neither the Americans nor the Arabs I saw on screen looked or acted anything like me. As I grew older, I found that the image of “the American” became a little more democratized, largely due to the influence of film and social media, so I dedicated myself to persuing film and television in an effort to lend my voice to such an influential medium.

I wrote Does My Head Look Big In This? in my Sophomore year at Emerson College in an attempt to kickstart my diverse contributions to the film industry. I initially wrote DMHLBIT? as a feature length, 120 minute screenplay, but adapted it into a short film that I could produce myself, as I was just so eager to see something I could connect to on screen -- even if that screen was my own little scratched up computer screen. This project will not be the final polished verision of this story, but instead a proof of concept so I can take Iman's story beyond Emerson's boarders. 

There is an indescribable power in feeling seen, especially if that’s not something you get to experience on a daily basis. That’s the feeling im dedicating my life to; that’s the feeling I want to make sure young Muslim men and women get to experience at some point in their lives.

Does My Head Look Big In This? tells a story I always wish I could've seen growing up. 

Iman Sherif, a 22 year old Egyptian-American Muslim, is the perfect Arab daughter; She is the daughter of her mosque’s beloved Imam, she studies law at NYU, and she sneaks out almost every night to perform stand-up at various clubs & make fun of the obvious juxtapositions in her ‘Arab’ life and her ‘American’ one. When 9/11 complicates the delicate balance of her two worlds, Iman must find a way to get her career, her family life, and the family business back on track -- all while deciding whether she wants to live the life that her parents want for her (with the suitor they want for her) or if she’s ready to be honest with herself and her loved ones and pursue the dream, and the boy, she wants.

Filming Does My Head Look Big In This? looks a little different now than it did during my sophomore year. We're very lucky to be at Emerson where all students are required to dilligently follow Covid saftey guidelines that include weekly testing, crews of up to only 5 people, required sanitization stations, mask-wearing protocols, and much more. With all of these guidelines in mind, I do believe that we will be able to film Does My Head Look Big In This? saftely this November.

As I hope you can tell, Does My Head Look Big In This? means the world to me. On many levels, it's my story, and the story of so many others I know. If you feel in any way, shape, or form that you can relate to Iman's story, or if you feel as though you'd like to see Iman's story realized on screen, please consider contributing to our film. 


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

AirBnB - The Sherif's Home

Costs $1,500

To rent a family home to film in for a weekend!

Feeding My Crew

Costs $800

Although my crew may be small, we will be filming for 2 weekends & I need to keep everyone well fed!

Costumes & Production Design

Costs $500

This is a period piece - I need costumes and props that scream 2001 to make this film convincing!

About This Team

Hanna El-Mohandess (Writer, Director, Executive Producer)

Hanna El-Mohandess is a senior Visual Media Arts (VMA) major at Emerson College, with focuses in screenwriting and producing and a minor in sociology. She conceived the idea for Does My Head Look Big in This? in her sophomore year of College, itching to contribute to the film industry in an impactful and transformative way. El-Mohandcss grew up listening to the stories of brave hijabi women who faced adversity and the harsh discrimination that followed the infamous attacks on 9.11, but eventually realized that those stories weren't the common narrative. Does My Head Look Big in This? is, therefore, a deeply personal look at the healing of the New York Muslim community after September 11th, developed as an amalgamation of the stories and sentiments El-Mohandess has grown up around all her life as a Muslim, Egyptian-American.

Omar Ahmed (Director of Photography)

Omar Ahmed is from Los Angeles, California. He is at Emerson College to pursue filmmaking. Growing up a first generation Indian-American Muslim, he is passionate about telling Muslim American stories. He has worked on more than 20 Emerson productions in the lighting, and camera department. He is very excited to work on this project because of its uniqueness and brilliant writing and storytelling. Along with being the Director of Photography for this project, he is also Directing and Acting in his own BA production named Piyar which follows his love life while being Muslim in America. Omar also has a company called Goons nyc where he and his business partner make clothing and create visual content and book musical artists. He also enjoys making music with an EP out called Life of a Rat now on Spotify.

Fay Ishac (Producer, Actress) 

So my name is Fay Ishac, I'm from Lebanon, and I've basically lived there my whole life. I'm a sophomore, VMA. I had the opportunity to go to New York fashion week and that's one of the best experiences I've ever had; I had the chance to sit on the runway alongside all the other photographers and take pictures of the runway and models, I had backstage access to the shows and got to meet the designers and film our interviews with them. Hanna asked me to work with her on this project and honestly, it's a huge honor. I am excited about endless things, the fact that I am working with a strong creative Arab woman and the fact that I am working on a project that supports the Arab culture and covers a few of the things Arabs and especially Muslims go through here in the US are big ones for me! I am excited to learn a lot from this experience on set, it's going to be my first time working on a BA set and I can't wait to learn from all of you talented and experienced people! 

Jason Hinchey (1st AD, Cam Op)

Jason, a Senior at Emerson College, is an Assistant Director that has different watches that he uses depending on how tight the schedule for the day will be, but always ends up using the watch he reserves for the hardest days. He is both a friend and colleague of Hanna’s, and is excited to assist her in turning her passion project into a reality. 

Maya Simon (Fundraising Director)

Maya Simon is a senior theatre major. Her many interests include alt musical theatre, chocolate baked goods, and giraffes, ultimately her passion is fundraising for art pieces she believes in. And boy does she believe in this one! Maya has been obsessed with DMHLBIT? since she read the first draft of the first five pages in a dorm room so many months ago. She truly believes that Hanna El-Mohandess is a visionary and she could not be more honored to get to help fund this film!

Sophie Govert (Composer) 

Sophie Govert is an audio engineering student at SAE Expression College in Emeryville, CA. She loves string instruments and scented candles, and if it came out before 1995, she hasn't heard of it. She's also a fan of brave, hilarious, thoughtful characters and the important stories that contain them—which is why she's thrilled to be working alongside a talented crew to help bring this project to life!

Isabella Rosete (Creative Producer)

Isabella graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Visual Media Arts and a concentration in screenwriting and producing. While at Emerson she was also a part of the Emerson Dance Company and had produced a film with EIV! She finds it so rewarding and so important to uplift projects by and about fellow women of color, which is part of the reason she’s so excited to work on this project! She’s also been in so many screenwriting classes with Hanna that she knows the story inside out, and can’t wait to help Hanna bring her vision to life!

Michael Figueiredo (Wardrobe)

Mike, 21, VMA, worked on EM Magazine in the style and makeup department for two years. If there’s a drag queen in an EIV production, hi, odds are it was me. I’m so excited to work on this project because I get to share my passion for early aughts fashion! If you think my style is bad, just wait until you see my credit score. ;)

Jin Ko (Sound) 

I’m a Senior VMA major who’s trying to do sound in the film industry. I’m excited to work on Hanna’s project because of her unique vision on social commentary and humor. She’s one of the most talented, versatile, and hardest working people I’ve met. My only challenge on this set is to match her work ethic.

Current Team