Every American city is shaped by the stories of immigrants. Some are stories we know well. Some have been forgotten. And some are waiting to be discovered.
Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History, directed and produced by local filmmaker Becky Fisher and shot by Vinnie Manganello, reveals a new chapter in the diverse history of central Indiana. It explores the first Arabic-speaking neighborhood in Indianapolis, the founding of St. George Church in the 1920s, the establishment of a prominent Arab American business on Monument circle, the service of Arab Americans in World War II, the election of Arab Americans to political offices in the Indiana Capitol, the contributions of Arab Americans to medicine since the 1920s, and the influence of Arab American food on menus across the city.
Nominated for five regional Emmy awards for best historical documentary, presenter, photography, editing, and writing, Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History was also an official selection of the 31st annual Heartland International Film Festival. It debuted on WFYI Indianapolis on June 16, 2022, and was broadcast subsequently on every other PBS affiliate station in Indiana: WNIN-Evansville, Aug. 7; WVUT-Vincennes, Sept. 1, 21, 26; WIPB-Muncie, Sept. 3; WFWA-Fort Wayne, Oct. 16; WTIU-Bloomington, Oct. 23, 26; WNIT-South Bend, Oct. 24; WYIN-Gary, Nov. 18, 2022. In addition, the program has been streamed thousands of times on PBS and the WFYI website.
The film was underwritten by the Arab Indianapolis Foundation, Inc., and Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was produced by Fisher Productions in association with Indiana University.