TITLE: The Feeling of Being Watched
DIRECTOR: ASSIA BOUNDAOUI
YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 2018
COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: USA
DURATION: 87 min.
In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where journalist and filmmaker Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.”
With unprecedented access, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why Her community—including her own family—fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community.
THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.
ASSIA BOUNDAOUI – Director and Producer
Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago.
She has reported for BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, VICE, and CNN and was the recipient of a first place Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting in Yemen. She directed a short film on hijabi hair salons for the HBO LENNY docu-series, which premiered as an official selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Assia has a Masters degree in journalism from New York University and is fluent in Arabic. THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED is her feature directorial debut.