Clear your calendars! Set your DVRs! POV’s 2009 season kicks off on Tuesday, June 23rd with the premiere of Jennifer Maytorena Taylor‘s New Muslim Cool. The film, which follows the spiritual journey of Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez, has received glowing reviews and is sure to start many fascinating conversations. Hamza pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. In the film, he moves to Pittsburgh to start a new religious community, gets married and spreads his message of faith to other young people through his music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself.

Find out more about the film and watch filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor talk about her subject, Hamza Pérez, and about her film, in POV’s extended filmmaker interview:

The film premiered in New York City last night with a screening at Lincoln Center, and on Saturday, June 20th, New York’s Rooftop Films will be screening it on the roof of El Museo del Barrio. Check out Rooftop’s interview with Jennifer.

We can’t wait for you to see the film, and we’re eager to hear what you think. Visit the POV website for New Muslim Cool!

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Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.