Tipped off by proud Mom (Blanca Hamri), I watched her daughter Sanaa on CNN, and then sent the following flash message ("Must-See: Tanjawia-American on CNN") last Sunday morning to the more than 400 people on the TALIM mailing list:
I'll be brief: Moroccan - American film director Sanaa Hamri, daughter of Blanca Hamri (formerly of the American School of Tangier) and artist Mohammed Hamri, has made a successful career in New York and Hollywood as a director of music videos, TV programs, and films.
She's profiled on CNN's weekly "African Voices," which is shown at the following times. If you miss seeing it today Sunday or tomorrow Monday, you can probably watch the episode on the program's website. The program is shown at the following times (deleted, as it's now online).Check this out, no kidding. It's a full 30 minutes of Tangier & a great Moroccan-American. Sanaa is highly intelligent, successful-but-not-a-braggart, an example of what this rich multicultural city and a pair of spunky and talented parents can produce.
I then sent the announcement with this addendum to the members of the American School of Tangier (AST) board of trustees (of which I am a member):
"African Voices" appears to be only be broadcast on CNN International, therefore only outside the US. But if you wait a couple of days, you will be able to see it on the CNN website at this link; look for "Watch Previous Shows."
Sanaa (and Blanca) provide some great lines, including "AST was the ticket... education was a great gift..."
What's most impressive is Hamri's evolution. Starting out as a receptionist at a NY studio, she not only "answers the phones well," as she puts it, but also teaches herself how to use the editing equipment. Music videos (her clients include the biggest names in pop) come next, which evolve into TV sitcom episodes, which then morph into film directing.
But not just any old MTV spot or film. Sanaa Hamri says that she turns down proposals "if they lack meaning," or sometimes because of their lyrical content: "They're saying nothing." This woman knows where she's heading.
Okay, "local girl does well in Hollywood" - the Tinseltown story has been told before in places like Peoria, and maybe in Tallahassee, but not in Tangier. Sanaa is a Big Deal, and is obviously a young woman who thinks big, too. With a map of Morocco and Tangier spotlighted on the TV screen, she tells us that she hopes to establish a film studio in her home town, to rival the majors in Hollywood.
With someone of her level of determination - mother Blanca recalls that Sanaa's favorite cartoon character as a little girl was "Mighty Mouse" - who can doubt that she'll give it a shot?
Photo: cover story of Urbain Magazine (Tangier, Morocco)