Two local films make the cut at Slamdance

Two Chicago filmmakers feel honored that their films were among the only 18 narrative and documentary films chosen from a record 5,000-plus submissions for the 16th annual Slamdance Film Festival.

Rashid Ghazi’s feature-length documentary “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football” and Todd Looby’s short narrative-doc hybrid “Son of None” will play at the “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” fest, running Jan. 21-27 in Park City, Utah.

World premiering at Slamdance, Ghazi’s “Fordson” is about the largely Arab Muslim Fordson High School football team in Dearborn, Michigan, whose big game happens to fall during the fasting period of Ramadan as well as the eight anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The film shows this group of many second and third-generation Americans still fighting for acceptance from some of their neighbors, holding onto both the traditions of their faith and their all-American sports culture.

Ghazi produced through his North Shore Films, in associations with CNN producers Ash-har and Basma Quraishi’s Quraishi Productions. Ruth Leitman (“Tony and Janina’s American Wedding”) is the writer of “Fordson.” Ed Pickart of Motion Post edited.

A veteran TV sports producer, Ghazi is a partner at Deerfield-based Paragon Marketing Group. He was co-winner of 2010 Promo & Activation Grand Prix and the PR Grand Prix Awards at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for the Gatorade “Replay” spot.

A 50/50 mix of narrative and documentary, Looby’s “Son of None” is the story a quiet, sensitive orphan of the Liberian civil war adapting to life at a Catholic boarding school.