In May 2017, POV asked Dalya's Other Country filmmaker Julia Meltzer what's happened since the cameras stopped rolling.
What has Dalya been up to since the end of the film?
Dalya is attending Pasadena Community College, she is just finishing up her freshman year. She is interested in studying Architecture, but is completing her basic studies right now. She will probably apply to transfer to a state school or a UC school at the end of her sophomore year.
How about Rudayna?
Rudayna is about to graduate Glendale Community College with her Associates Degree. She was just accepted as a transfer student at UCLA for the class of 2019, which is amazing. There were 122,000 people who applied to UCLA and Rudayna was accepted as one of maybe 1000 students. It's incredible impressive — she is a role model for all of us.
What were Dalya's and Rudaynah's reactions after seeing the film?
Both Dalya and Rudayna love the film. Rudayna complains that she is not funny enough and her English is bad, but beyond that she had no other complaints.
Dalya says that at the beginning of the film she was so Syrian. I think she is more comfortable with her Syrian-American self! They are nervous about what audiences will think of them and how their story will be received. It is a very big deal that they shared so much of their personal life.
In what ways have you seen or do you hope to see Dalya's Other Country add to conversations around immigration, American identity and Muslims in the U.S.?
Dalya's Other Country is essentially a coming-of-age immigrant tale. I think that Dalya and Rudayna's experience will be so relatable for other immigrant groups — they are also trying to hold onto their values and their culture within larger mainstream American culture. I hope that people take away a view into Dalya's particular experience as a young Muslim American woman in a very specific and challenging time in our nation's history.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a film with the poet Robin Coste Lewis — more details to come soon!