End 22 Years Of Injustice

Powerful New Guantánamo Film “I Am Gitmo” Premieres in New York and Los Angeles

The poster for "I Am Gitmo."

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By Andy Worthington, April 24, 2024

We’re pleased to announce that a new feature film about Guantánamo, "I Am Gitmo," will receive its U.S. premiere in New York and Los Angeles this week and next.

Written and directed by Philippe Diaz, and produced via his Cinema Libre Studio, which specializes in socially conscious independent films and documentaries, "I Am Gitmo" tells the fictional story of Gamel Sadek, an Egyptian schoolteacher, married and living with his wife and children in Kandahar, who is kidnapped, tortured and sent to Guantánamo based on a mistaken assumption that he is an associate of Osama bin Laden.

Despite its fictional storyline, the film persistently draws on real events, and makes reference to individuals who played a key role in the horrors of Guantánamo and the wider "war on terror," and it captures well the arbitrariness of the U.S.’s abduction program after 9/11, the outrageousness of its claims that it can hold people indefinitely without charge or trial (which continues to this day), and the intelligence failures and bounty payments that caused so many innocent men and boys to be rounded up and sent to the prison.

The film also strives to portray accurately the relentless, dehumanizing violence to which the prisoners were subjected, and while I fear that the real violence was much worse than that shown in the film, Karen J. Greenberg, the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, and the author of "The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days," found it disturbing enough to write, in her latest article about Guantánamo, "Previewing Diaz’s movie, I was surprised at how it unnerved me. After so many years of exposure to the grim realities of that prison, somehow his film touched me anew. There were moments that made me sob, moments when I turned down the sound so as not to hear more anguished cries of pain from detainees being tortured."

The film had its world premiere at the Marbella Film Festival in October 2023, where Sammy Sheik, who plays the lead character, deservedly won the award for best actor. In the film, Sheik, an Egyptian-American, speaks English with his captors, but Arabic with his fellow prisoners, and some of the film’s most powerful moments come from the exchanges between the prisoners, and their support for one another, all conducted in Arabic, with English subtitles.

See below for the trailer for the film:

The official trailer for "I Am Gitmo."


"I Am Gitmo" is showing at the Cinema Village, 22 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003 from Friday April 26 to Thursday May 2, and at the Laemmle Monica Film Centers, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401 from Friday May 3 to Thursday May 9.

I hope that you’ll be able to watch it, if you’re in New York or Los Angeles, and I’m sure that further screenings will be announced soon. The filmmakers are also generously promoting the work of the Guantánamo Survivors Fund at the screenings, encouraging those attending to make a donation to support the work of this important grass-roots organization, which raises money to provide essential assistance for former prisoners abandoned by the U.S., who need help with, for example, medical care, rent, language classes, tuition, and job training.

A number of the screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions, as follows:

New York

Friday April 26 at 7:30pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz, the journalist Matt Taibbi, and Michel Paradis, a civilian lawyer working with the military commission defense teams at Guantánamo, and a lecturer at Columbia Law School.

Saturday April 27 at 5:30pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz and Karen J. Greenberg, the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, and the author of "The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days."

Sunday April 28 at 3pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz and Beth D. Jacob, an attorney who has been representing Guantánamo prisoners since 2005, and is the founder of HeART (Healing and Recovery after Trauma).

Los Angeles

Friday May 3 at 1pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism from 2017 to 2023, moderated by the journalist Jeremy Kuzmarov, the Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine, whose review of "I Am Gitmo" is here.

Saturday May 4 at 7pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz and cast members Eric Pierpoint and Chico Brown, moderated by Jeremy Kuzmarov.

Sunday May 5 at 7:15pm: Q&A with director Philippe Diaz and cast members Eric Pierpoint and Chico Brown, moderated by Jeremy Kuzmarov.

Philippe has kindly offered to provide free tickets to Close Guantánamo supporters with several options:

  • NYC screenings (this Friday 4/26, Saturday 4/27 & Sunday 4/28) Q&A shows at Cinema Village. Fill out this form.
  • LA “Premiere Event” May 2nd at Writers Guild Theater where Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will be given a Human Rights Award: Fill out this form.
  • LA screenings (next Friday 5/3, Saturday 5/4 & Sunday 5/5) at Laemmle Monica Film Center. Fill out this form.

If you have any issues with the form, please contact the production team.